|الكلية الملكية للجراحين في ايرلندا- جامعة البحرين الطبية|
RCSI, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, logo
Motto in English
|Scholarship and Dexterity|
|President||Sameer Otoom (President)|
The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland - Bahrain (RCSI-Bahrain) also known as the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland - Medical University of Bahrain (RCSI-MUB; Arabic: الكلية الملكية للجراحين في ايرلندا- جامعة البحرين الطبية) is a constituent university of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
It was founded in 2004 as a medical school, the third such school in Bahrain. In 2006, the college opened its doors for nursing students and established the School of Postgraduate Studies. Until 2008, the campus was located in the Seef district of Manama. The current 15,750m2 campus is located in Busaiteen, in Muharraq Island next to King Hamad University Hospital, the main clinical facility for student teaching. Other hospitals that the college work with include Salmaniya Medical Complex and Bahrain Defence Force Hospital.
RCSI-Bahrain medical school shares the same curriculum and examinations with RCSI (Dublin) and costs BD15,000 a year. The college produced its first medical graduating class in June 2010 awarding them with Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery as well as other degrees. In 2013, the student body grew to over 1,100 students coming from over 40 different nationalities. About 200 staff work with the college, most of them Irish or Bahraini.
Since the start of the Bahraini uprising in 2011 and subsequent government crackdown, RCSI-Bahrain has been caught in controversy. The college was criticized for not supporting its graduates or students who have been victimized by the Bahraini government. In May 2011, the college questioned three students who had taken part in the protests at the request of Bahrain's Ministry of Education and in March 2013 its newly appointed president resigned over the alleged government cancellation of an ethics conference. More recently, in late May 2013, a group of Irish lawyers called upon the Medical Council in Ireland to deny accreditation to the college due to human rights violations occurring at hospitals connected with it.
The relations between RCSI and Bahrain date back to the 1970s in the form of first aid training courses and setting examinations. The establishment of the university in Bahrain was part of a greater €60−70 million 10−year development plan, which was officially launched in September 2003. A memorandum of understanding was previously signed by the president of RCSI and the then-Bahrain ambassador to the UK, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.
The university was formally opened on the 4th of May, 2004 by the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and Ireland's Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, with the first batch of medical students being admitted in October of the same year. In 2006, the college opened its doors for nursing students and established the School of Postgraduate Studies. In June 2010, the college produced its first medical graduating class.
RCSI-Bahrain is one of two medical schools in Bahrain, the other being Arabian Gulf University. The college is also the second nursing school in the country, the first being College of Health Sciences.
RCSI-Bahrain medical school shares the same curriculum and examinations with RCSI (Dublin). It has 3 programs; a five-year program, a 6-year program including a foundation year and a 7-year program known as the Medical Commencement Program costing BD15,000 annually. A maximum of 120 students are accepted into the medical school annually. The first batch in 2004 had only 35 students. Officials said the small number of students is important for stronger inter-relations and to provide high quality education. Students are provided with laptops and can view lectures before they are delivered.
RCSI-Bahrain works with public health care facilities such as Salmaniya Medical Complex and military hospitals such as Bahrain Defence Force Hospital and King Hamad University Hospital. The latter is the main clinical teaching hospital for college's medical students.
In May 2013, the college reached a Memorandum of Understanding to share content relating to diabetes with diabetes.bh, a Bahraini website "dedicated to increasing diabetes awareness and prevention".
In 2013, the student body was estimated at over 1,100 most of whom were in the School of Medicine. In 2009, Bahrainis composed 90 percent of nursing students and 40 percent of medical students, and in 2013, students belonged to more than 40 different nationalities.
Graduates of the medicine course obtain a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree and Bachelor of the Art of Obstetrics from both the National University of Ireland (NUI) and RCSI-Bahrain. Medical graduates are also awarded with the Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (LRCSI) and the Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (LRCPI). Graduates of the nursing course obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the RCSI-Bahrain and from the NUI as well.
The college's campus, upon its establishment, was temporarily in the Seef district of Manama, the capital city. It was opened in 2004 by the Bahrain Prime Minister and the then-Premier and Ireland Prime Minister Bertie Ahern. In 2005, the government of Bahrain donated a tract of land located in Busaiteen on the neighboring island of Muharraq where construction of a new permanent campus began. In October 2008, students and staff moved to the new 15,750-m2 campus. Official opening was in February 2009, by the then-president of Ireland, Mary McAleese and presence of Bahrain Prime Minister, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
The campus, located next to the newly constructed King Hamad University Hospital, can accommodate up to 2,000 students and has "fully integrated IT system and wireless access" that covers 80 percent of the area. The campus is composed of a six-story building and a 900-m2 sports hall. The building contains "two lecture theaters, three laboratories, nine tutorial rooms and a large library with several group study rooms" as well as "offices, [and a] cafeteria." The total investment in the campus is estimated at US$65 million.
Beginning in February 2011, Bahrain saw sustained pro-democracy protests, centered at Pearl Roundabout in the capital of Manama, as part of the wider Arab Spring. Authorities responded with a night raid on 17 February (later referred to by protesters as Bloody Thursday), which left four protesters dead and more than 300 injured. Health workers played an important role in documenting the injuries, which were at the time downplayed or denied by the government of Bahrain. At Salmaniya Medical Complex, doctors joined the protests themselves, speaking to protesters and media from the hospital stairs, after authorities blocked ambulances from bringing injured protesters there for care. The military responded by naming the hospital an opposition stronghold, taking it over on March 16. In March and April 2011, more than seventy health workers were arrested during night raids for their actions during the protests, many of them alleging to have been tortured in custody.
At least three of the arrested medics had studied in RCSI and Bahrain Centre for Human Rights reported that over 30 RCSI-Bahrain nursing graduates were "denied work placements [in King Hamad University Hospital] on the basis of their religion."
RCSI-Bahrain was caught in controversy since 2011 following the start of government crackdown and arrest of some medics who had been trained by RCSI (Dublin). Prior to that, the college "seemed a model of medical education excellence. It had an enviable record of producing well qualified medical professionals." The college has come under criticism for not supporting its graduates or students who have been victims of the crackdown against the uprising and who have been arrested, and for not speaking against government crackdown. The issue was raised in the Irish Seanad.
According to the Irish Medical Times, RCSI-Bahrain questioned three students who had participated in anti-government protests in February 2011. Students were asked to "swear an oath of loyalty to the Bahraini Royal Family and sign a declaration that they would not participate in further protests." The questioning took place while the country was in a state of emergency and was at the request of Bahrain's Ministry of Education, which also provided the college with photographs. The aforementioned ministry withdrew sponsorships from three other students, but restored them later.
Describing the action as "wholly inappropriate" RCSI (Dublin) CEO said the questioning was undertaken by a senior officer "without the knowledge or authority of the College" and that they only had known about it from an Irish barrister. In October, professor Tom Collins, who had been recently appointed president of RCSI-Bahrain, apologized to the questioned students. The incident was highlighted by Ceartas (Irish lawyers for human rights) as an example of the "restrictive environment that RCSI-MUB operates in".
Irish fact-finding delegation
In July 2011, a group of Irish doctors, politicians and human rights representatives led by orthopedic surgeon Damien McCormack traveled to Bahrain and met with medics and their families as well as some government officials. They also visited RCSI-Bahrain campus. Among them was professor Eoin O'Brien of University College Dublin. Following his return to Dublin, he said he was told by the then-president and vice president of RCSI to "tone down his criticism as it was damaging the reputation of RCSI". "I said that the college by its silence was seen as being complicit with the Bahrain regime and I urged them not to compromise principle for the sake of financial involvement," O'Brien added. The RCSI CEO, professor Cathal Kelly, rejected "accusations that the RCSI was allowing financial considerations trump human rights."
Medical ethics conference
In March 2013, Collins resigned from his position as president following cancellation of a conference on medical ethics. According to Collins the conference titled "Medical ethics and dilemmas in situations of political discord or violence" and co-sponsored by RCSI-Bahrain and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was given verbal approval from Bahrain's Crown Prince in the Autumn of 2012. However, Collins added that "the written permission never arrived" and thus the conference was cancelled.
Bahrain's government spokesperson, Samira Rajab accused Collins of "utter lies" adding that the government of Bahrain had sent a written permission since December 2012. Rajab also criticized the way Collin's resignation was announced, describing it as "media and political stir" that is not in line with the academic standards of "prestigious educational institutions". Bart Janssens of MSF said they had indeed received a written permission, but added that there was a "clear message" against holding the conference.
In the wake of Collins' resignation, a delegation from RCSI headed by its CEO and president visited Bahrain and met several government officials including the Prime Minister. According to Bahrain News Agency, the delegation "expressed regret over the circumstances that surrounded the resignation of former president of RCSI-Bahrain". The government of Bahrain was satisfied with the response with the Prime Minister reaffirming support and expressing appreciation to RCSI.
MSF said they had chosen Bahrain, because of its "own recent experience with the politicization of medicine". "It's a fact that in many countries, as in Bahrain, hospitals have become forefront places for political struggles, and people who are injured can not find in any way a sort of neutral space where only clinical medicine is practiced and not find political discussions," they added. Collins said in late May 2013 that the cancelled conference was "one way the RCSI could address the situation in Bahrain as an academic institution". He criticized government of Bahrain for its "heavy-handed oppression" and said the college was "extraordinarily powerless in Bahrain". "If the price of being there is compliance [with oppression], then that is to compromise the very essence of higher education," he added.
Irish Medical Council accreditation
Since it started teaching in 2004, RCSI-Bahrain was not accredited by Medical Council in Ireland as required. A visit to Bahrain was scheduled in the second half of 2013. In May 2013, Ceartas, a group of Irish lawyers issued a report asking the Medical Council in Ireland to deny RCSI-Bahrain of its accreditation. The report argued that Irish jurisdiction applied to RCSI-Bahrain, since it was completely owned by RCSI (Dublin). "[RCSI-Bahrain has] an education programme integrated with health systems connected to torture, discriminatory conduct in the provision of healthcare and employment of medical staff, and consistent violation of the rights to freedom of expression", the report added. Initially, RCSI refused to give any responses "until [they] have seen and studied the report", later they rejected its conclusion that "[RCSI] Bahrain campus was not fit for accreditation."
RCSI-Bahrain was accredited by the Irish Medical Council in December 2014.
- List of universities in Bahrain
- List of hospitals in Bahrain
- Bahrain health worker trials
- Medical neutrality
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