After approximately15 years, the Government of Grenada is finally taking the necessary steps to legally accede to the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP), which was established in 2003.
CAAM-HP is an accreditation body established in 2003, to legally determine and prescribe standards and to accredit programmes of medical, dental, veterinary and other health professions and for incidental purposes for medical, veterinary, and dental schools in the 15 member nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Its main purpose is to ensure that schools meet standards of structure, function, and performance and assures society and the health professions that graduates of accredited schools meet the educational requirements for further training and the health care needs of the people in the Caribbean.
Last December, the Lower House of Parliament approved the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Medicine and other Health Professions (Bill), 2015, to give effect to the agreement signed on July 4, 2004.
Education Minister, Anthony Boatswain who presented the bill for first reading noted the “negative impacts” that the “the absence of such legislation” has had on “the accreditation and recognition process for the St. George’s University (SGU).”
He pointed out that “CAAM-HD does not have the authority to act on behalf of the Government of Grenada or to represent, or make applications on behalf of SGU to international organisations”.
In addition, he said that “in order to ensure that students attending SGU have access to federal loans in the USA, SGU must make (an) application for comparability to the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education Accreditation (NCFMEA),” which can “only be submitted to the accrediting agency, which in our case would be CAAM-MD.”
The Education Minister informed the House that “CAAM-HP has been the accrediting agency for SGU since 2007,” and has since “served as the means of providing quality that generates confidence in the principal stakeholders regionally and internationally, in the students as well as the general public.”
“We (Government), have received a letter from SGU requesting that we move speedily,” Minister Boatswain went on to say, noting that the next NCFMEA conference is carded for April 2016 and that the organisation has already approved a request from the Government of Grenada to be placed on the agenda of the conference.
“It means Mr. Speaker, that we have to move with some degree of pace to ensure that this piece of legislation is passed prior to the conference in 2016,” Boatswain emphasized, pointing to the many benefits to be derived as a result.
“The standards and procedures used by CAAM-HP for the accreditation of SGU would be considered comparable with the standards used by medical education providers in the United States of America…foreign students would be able to access federal loans in the USA to facilitate their registration with SGU,” he said.
“This is very important in order to generate the confidence that is desired for such a high level medical institution,” he added.
Additionally, the Education Minister pointed out that this will have no effect on the National Accreditation Board as this board would then be restricted to the general areas of tertiary education providers.