This program is not a travelled based program but an academic program in which students form temperate regions are allowed to come to Sierra Leone to have clinical hands on experience in tropical diseases, to appreciate our health care system-its excellence and flaws- and to also experience a totally different culture from theirs.
The College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) is the first and only medical school in Sierra Leone. It was founded in 1988 by the Sierra Leonean Government with support from the Nigerian Government and the World Health Organization (WHO). Following the 2005 University Act, COMAHS was incorporated as one of three constituent colleges, alongside Fourah Bay College (FBC) and the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), into the University of Sierra Leone (USL). USL is owned by the Government, and its Chancellor is the President of Sierra Leone. COMAHS is mandated to train doctors, nurses, pharmacists, biomedical scientists and laboratory technicians to improve Sierra Leone’s health system.
COMAHS recently developed a five-year strategic plan to transform into a top university in West Africa. Currently, however, there are challenges: courses are limited because of staff shortages; equipment and supplies are outdated or not available; and space is limited resulting in many able students—who have the necessary exam scores—denied admissions and or going abroad to study.
To begin to address these gaps, WHO has been requested by the MOHS, with close to $3.3 million in funding from the World Bank and the African Development Bank, to support COMAHS to achieve its strategic objectives by assisting with the recruitment of teachers and key senior staff, specifically a Deputy Vice Chancellor and 18 instructors in basic sciences (4 positions), basic medical sciences (5 positions), pharmaceutical sciences (2 positions), clinical sciences (4 positions) and nursing (3 positions). WHO will also supporting COMAHS to procure teaching materials and upgrade and rehabilitate ICT and other equipment. The time period for this support is 2016-2017.