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History of Establishment of NCAMC

History of National Council for Accreditation of Medical Colleges in Iraq Establishment 


Professor Hikmat A. Hatem
Founder of Accreditation Process in Iraq 
2007 - 2015

In Iraq, there are more than 30 medical colleges ( up to 2022) distributed all over the country. These are all public colleges, funded by the government through the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Recently, private medical colleges are going to be established according to the present criteria. The first public college was established in 1927 according to the British model. The rest of the colleges that have been established later followed the same traditional model. National medical colleges worked jointly with international medical colleges at the start. Then with the development of national staff, the role of international staff became less. Political transitions in Iraq played a role in this change. Cooperation did not stop, and visitor professors kept teaching and examining Iraqi medical students until the eighties the last century. Higher education and training of the majority of Iraqi doctors used to be conducted in the United Kingdom, United States, and other developed countries. In the 1980s, Iraq established Iraqi Board for Medical Specializations and participated in Pan-
Arab Board for Medical Specializations in order to qualify medical graduates in different specialities locally aiming at improving the health system and services. Cooperation between Iraqi medical colleges and International ones persisted in one way or another until sanctions have been imposed on Iraq in 1990.

Thereafter WHO represented the only source of international support for health services and medical education. This cooperation with WHO led to the introduction of the accreditation concept into medical education in Iraq in 2007 during a conference of the Association of Arab Deans of Medical Colleges that was held in Damascus / Syria and was attended by the Head of Deans’ committee of Iraqi medical colleges Professor Hikmat A. Hatem. National efforts were initiated thereafter to increase awareness of medical faculties about the importance of accreditation and the need to accomplish it by all colleges. A milestone step was the official establishment of an accreditation committee within the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research; based on ministerial order[ 15786 ] on 17/7/2008, which was affiliated with Quality Assurance Division. This committee was named the National Accreditation Committee of Medical Colleges in Iraq  (NACMCI), to start with it included eight members. Liaison committees also were established in each of the medical colleges in Iraq where all of them were affiliated to NACMCI. Many scientific activities have been conducted in collaboration with WHO. These activities included workshops, conferences, and panel discussions inside Iraq and in nearby Arab countries like Bahrain and Jordan. Members of NACMCI and liaison committees participated in these activities. The majority of these activities have been funded by WHO. The events covered variable aspects of accreditation theory and practice.

Another milestone in the accreditation process in Iraq is the formulation of the Iraqi National Guideline on Standards for Establishing and Accrediting Medical Schools and its approval by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Minister of Health, WHO representative in Iraq, deans of medical colleges, members of NACMCI and members of liaisons committees endorsed and signed a copy of the guideline in 2009. This has led to a series of accreditation activities including peer visits carried by members of the accreditation committee and liaison committees. As a result, almost all colleges conduct a self ­assessment study and submit their reports to the accreditation committee in 2010 - ­2013. Those reports varied in their compliance with Iraqi National Guideline on Standards for Establishing and Accrediting Medical Schools. NACMCI on one hand and all medical colleges, on the other hand, were eager to carry on, but some constraints were faced. In February 2015, an important meeting was held with the deans of medical colleges in Iraq, headed by His Excellency the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research; the issue of establishing a body that will undertake the task of accrediting medical colleges has been raised. On this basis, the National Council for the Accreditation of Medical Colleges (NCAMC) was formed by Ministerial order [1456 ]on 4/22/2015, as an extension to NACMCI.   The Council acts under the umbrella of the Quality Assurance and Academic Accreditation Directorate within the Apparatus for Supervision and Scientific Evaluation. This is considered an evolution for a more systematic work. The Council works to grant accreditation to medical colleges and at the same time seeks to complete the requirements for the purpose of obtaining international recognition by agencies like WFME.

The ultimate results of all these efforts will be fulfilling community health needs through the provision of safe and equitable health care services.

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