At least 22 students were Tuesday treated to a 'White Coat Ceremony' by officials of the American International University (AIU) The Gambia, which marked their transition from the study of pre-clinical to clinical health sciences.
The ceremony that was held at the AIU grounds along Kairaba Avenue in Kanifing brought together academic staff and students of the specialised medical training institution, as well as other invited dignitaries including the minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Mamadou Tangara.
The 'White Coat Ceremony' is a relatively new ritual in some, medical schools that marks the students' transition from the study of pre-clinical to clinical health sciences. At some schools where students begin meeting patients early in their education, the WCC is held before the first year commences.
The WCC typically addresses the issue of medical ethics and praises students for their successes in completing the basic science course of medicine, veterinary medicine, optometry, dentistry, chiropractic, podiatry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and advanced nursing practice.
Speaking at the ceremony, the president of the AIU, Denish Shukla, congratulated the young clinical students, saying his wish is to develop the AIU into a premier institution where students will acquire standard learning.
He told the students that by giving them the White Coat, they are training them to follow the ethics, profession and discipline of their work.
"You have to respect your work. We want to set an example but we have to work hard," he said.
He further urged the students to be sticklers to professionalism and ethics of their work so as to earn the trust and respect of their families, countries and the world at large.
"I guarantee you that this university is as good as any other in the world. Medicine is not knowledge but a science," he averred.
Shukla further informed that since the start of the operations of the AIU, it has been making progress with students coming from different parts of the world to study different fields of medicine and health.
"As at now, our student population is over 100," he disclosed.
The chairman of the Gambian Medical and Dental Council, Dr. Adama Sallah, for his part, commended the students for the commitment they attach to their studies.
Dr. Sallah underscored that it is imperative that private health institutions are created to train nurses and doctors, saying African countries must massively train their human resource base to meet the requirements of the future.
"Hopefully, if any one of you graduates from here, you will be marketable in any part of the world," he concluded.