Orotta College of Medicine and Health Sciences (OCMHS) held its annual graduation ceremony on Saturday, 27th of November, at the premises of the University of Asmara. The ceremony, which was the 11th commencement of Orotta College of Medicine and Dentistry (OCMD) and the 13th of Asmara College of Health Sciences (ACHS), was attended by members of the academic commission of OCMHS, department and program heads of the college, families of the graduating students and representatives of the graduating class of 2021. OCMD and ACHS were separate colleges before their merger in 2018 to form OCMHS.
With a mission to produce competent, compassionate and knowledgeable health professionals who meet the healthcare needs of the country, OCMHS has graduated this year 230 students, of which 52.6 % were female, in general medicine, pharmacy, nursing, clinical laboratory science and environmental health, dentistry, optometry, radiology technology and public health.
At its 13th commencement, ACHS has graduated a total of 194 students, 51.8% in degree and 48.2% in diploma programs, while OCMD has graduated a total of 36 students, with a degree of doctor of medicine, at its 11th commencement. Since its inception, ACHS has graduated a total of 4753 students, 2060 in degree and 2693 in diploma programs, and OCMD has since its inception graduated 409 doctors of medicine and 83 dentists.
In line with the launching of the postgraduate specialist training program in clinical medicine, the Government has allocated money for the recruitment of highly qualified professionals who work both as instructors and as clinical and specialized health service providers. Currently, there are 14 expatriate clinical professors working at the college.
After acknowledging, in his speech, the Eritrean government for its commitment to train highly qualified healthcare professionals, Dr. Yemane Seyoum, dean of the college, shared his sincere congratulations and wishes of luck to the graduates and their families who attended the ceremony as well as those that had to graduate in-absentia to avoid overcrowding and maintain distancing made necessary by Covid-19.
Dr. Yemane reminded the graduates that while they were students at the college they were taught to start thinking like doctors, nurses, pharmacists, clinical laboratory science operators and public health professionals. He said it did not take the college long to realize that each one of the students had remarkable and unique perspective to bring to the medical education in the coursework, during the physical exam, on clerkships and while taking care of patients. Dr. Yemane assured the graduates that the college has prepared them to face challenges during their future medical practice in any heath care providing facility and community setups and called on them to be prepared to devote their professional energies not only to their patients’ needs but also to the unmet health needs of the society as a whole.
Speaking on behalf of the graduating class, Yonathan Araia congratulated his colleagues, thanked the instructors and said although the world has never been as connected as it is today due to advances in science and technology, it is more divided than ever. But in Eritrea, he added, unlike the developed nations where individualism and ego-centrism are characteristics of many youngsters and college students, we do everything together, helping one another morally, academically and socially.
Yonathan added, “Most of us had the opportunity to serve our community and tried to use the knowledge gained in college to help those in need. There is no greater merit and satisfaction; nobody can argue about that.”