Close to five thousand persons, including a member of government, members of Parliament and members of the diplomatic corps graced the official launching of St Austin’s Medical Bilingual Institute (SAMBHI) and the matriculation ceremony of its first batch of students.
During the occasion, the founder and chief executive officer of the institute, Dr Chongwain Bisheline Naya, announced that under the canopy of the St Austin Foundation, she has offered full tuition scholarships to four vulnerable students to study at SAMBHI, subsidized fees for 20 others, and has equally subsidized healthcare for all vulnerable persons and students who receive health-care at the St Austin’s Medical Centre.
In her opening address, Dr Chongwain laid emphasis on the motto of the institute, “passion is fun,” in a bit to demonstrate that anyone who embraces the medical field by chance or as a last resort is a danger to his or her patients.
Quizzed on the importance of a matriculation ceremony in the life of a medical student and what is expected of them henceforth, the C.E.O said “obtaining their registration numbers today is a wake up call to those who have been sleeping on their laurels. They now have to wake up and march according the pace and norms of the institution and profession”.
She added that what makes her institution different from others is the fact that “SAMBHI has a teaching hospital called St Austin’s Medical Centre. After each lesson, the teachers go straight to the Centre to demonstrate to the students how such a lesson is carried out practically, and they capture it easily.
“Another peculiarity is that, as at now, we are the only medical school in the country that offers free, but compulsory driving lessons to our students”.
Harping on the essence of such driving lessons, she explained that “suppose a health emergency occurs in a community in the presence of any of our students. With the driving skills, they will be able to take responsibility, position the victim appropriately and transport him or her to the hospital. This additional skill is aimed at reducing deaths and health complications linked to evacuations to health facilities”.
The guest speaker at the event, Prof. Wilfred Mbacham, in his keynote address, focused on the importance of discipline, character and attitude, and cautioned the SAMBHI students that in the field of medicine, “your talent and effort are nothing if truly your attitude is problematic”.
He encouraged them to build resilience and harness their inner strength for they are on the path to become Cameroon’s health brand ambassadors, and are expected to undertake initiatives and innovations in health-care in Cameroon, Africa and the world at large.
As the most senior medical practitioner at the ceremony, Prof.Mbacham also led the students in the oath-taking ritual, and with their right hands raised up, the students vowed to carry-on their studies and internships with integrity, humility and passion.
SAMBHI, which officially opened its doors to students in August 2020, is run in partnership with the University of Bamenda, and for its first batch, the institution matriculated 60 students.
Among the top officials who turned out for the matriculation ceremony were Minister Felix Mbayu, Hon. Enwe Francis, the Egyptian Ambassador to Cameroon, Medhat El-Meligy, and the first deputy mayor of the Yaounde City Council, Kwayeb Ghislain.
The crowd-pulling event that was organized at the Yaounde City Council Town Hall on Thursday, February 4, kicked off with holy mass, celebrated by Rev. Father Paul Engolo of the Anglophone Parish in Mvog-Ada, who exhorted the fresh men and women of SAMBHI to work selflessly, while taking care of the sick, for thebest reward can only be given in heaven.
By GEORGE MUAM