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New dawn for medical profession  

Limpho Sello

LESOTHO School of Medicine (LSoM) Class of 2019 was officially inducted into the healthcare profession during a White Coat Ceremony (WCC) held at the National Health Training College (NHTC) on Friday.

The WCC is a relatively new ritual in the medical profession, which marks the students’ transition from the study of preclinical to clinical health sciences. WCCs typically involve a formal “robing” or “cloaking” of students in white coats — the garb physicians have traditionally worn for over 100 years.

Speaking at Friday’s WCC ceremony, Health Minister, Pinkie Manamolela, said the Lesotho School of Medicine became a reality on 1 September 2014 when NHTC admitted the first batch of 32 students.

“Today’s ceremony marks the beginning of a new chapter for the medical profession in Lesotho. For the first time in history, Lesotho can now train its very own medical doctors.

“The school will not only allow us to address the critical shortage of doctors in our country, but also produce home-grown Basotho doctors who will care for their communities and families,” Dr Manamolela said.

“For this reason, the ministry of health and indeed, the government of Lesotho, are committed to the success of this school.”

Dr Manamolela further said she hoped the ceremony marked the “beginning of a new chapter” for the medical students.

“The tradition of a White Coat Ceremony was originated by the Arnold P Gold Foundation, with our colleagues at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons just over 20 years ago,” she said.

“But for over 100 years, doctors have worn white coats as a symbol of professionalism, honour and compassion.

“When patients see the white coat, they know help has arrived. They know that they will be treated with respect. They know their secrets will be safe and they know their suffering will be attended to.

“The white coat, therefore, serves as a reminder to all doctors of their commitment to these values and to the welfare of their patients.”

Motsarapane Peete, who spoke on behalf of the students, said Friday’s event marked a new dawn for Lesotho.

“Let us anticipate challenges and deal with them with great diligence and unity or purpose,” Mr Motsarapane said.

“I want to take this opportunity to promise Basotho outstanding healthcare by 2020. There are 32 of us now and each district will have additional three Lesotho-trained doctors by then. That is going to be a great accomplishment for this country and we hope to make a difference in healthcare delivery in Lesotho.”


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