By Dalton Mujuni and Jimmy Siyasa
The Most Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and Chancellor of Uganda Christian University (UCU), on Thursday, October 21, 2021, commissioned medical equipment donated to the UCU School of Dentistry (SoD) by MidMark.
The commissioning served as an act of appreciation and official acknowledgement of use. More significant, perhaps, is that this ceremony signified that the SoD has overcome the threat of being closed down by regulators who in 2020 cited the facility for inappropriate infrastructure. The SoD’s new state-of-the-art equipment elevates the training facility, enabling it to nurture all-round dentists.
In his remarks, Kaziimba expressed gratitude to the management of Mengo Hospital for accepting to house the University’s School of Dentistry. He called for respect towards the dentistry profession, saying whereas dentists do a great job in keeping teeth healthy, in Uganda, dentists are not as respected as other medical professionals and are even sometimes given demeaning nicknames.
At the event, UCU’s Vice Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, said more than $700,000 (over sh2.5b) had been injected into setting up the modern facility. Mushengyezi said the regulator, the National Medical and Dental Practitioner’s Board, recently inspected and declared the school capable of training dental professionals.
Mushengyezi also commended MidMark for donating equipment worth sh1.46b ($397,855) through UCU Partners, a US-based non-profit charitable organization that raises public awareness about UCU in the United States by seeking material and spiritual support for students through sponsorships.
Kaziimba unveiled the equipment donated by Midmak during the event. The equipment includes dental chairs, Phantom Lab damies, LED dental lights, a separator tank assembly, powervac P7 base, power air oil-less compressors and a Midmark M3 Steam Sterilizer.
“Dental equipment is very expensive, and so to be able to have five dental units, that is a very great boost for us as a School,” says Dr. James Magara, dean, UCU’s SoD. “We are grateful to Midmark for a very generous donation that they gave to us, which is setting us on our way to begin training students in the clinical practice of dentistry.”
UCU SoD not only trains native students, but also those from other countries around the continent. The equipment arranged through the Uganda Partners NGO and coming from North America was long awaited when it arrived over the summer. Hence, Dr. Magara believes “the impact of the [Midmark] donation is going to be felt throughout Africa.”
David Magara (not related to the dean), a fourth-year student of Bachelor of Dental Surgery, said: “This technology makes us unique, compared to students in other institutions, given that we will be equipped with the necessary skills to meet the demand of the international market.”
The UCU School of Dentistry started in 2018 as a department under the School of Medicine. In 2020, the department morphed into a school of its own. The school currently offers the Bachelor of Dental Surgery, with 24 students and 10 staff members.