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In Zambia, completing a pre-med course is essential for joining a medical school and becoming a doctor. Most but not all enter a medical school—some pursue other related programs. Optionally a pre-med course graduate can pursue a degree in pharmacy, nursing, or laboratory sciences. Opportunities are extensive, globally.
Program Contents of Pre-med Courses
Pre-med courses such as HPFP (Health Professionals Foundation Programme) help students prepare for MBChB programs. The foundation course focuses on preparing the student to meet the requirements of med schools. You will qualify if you have passed the Grade 12 School Certificate (or GCE with a minimum of 5 credits). Your credits must include mathematics, English language, science, and biology.
HPFP is a one-year full-time program consisting of 2 semesters. The program’s emphasis is on natural sciences, medical terminologies and concepts, and behavioral sciences. Students will learn to think in unconventional ways and prepare to face the rigors they will face as healthcare professionals.
The program will cover biology, general and organic chemistry, physics, mathematics, and professional development. It will generally equip you to continue your education in medicine or a related program.
We don’t have to tell aspiring students how hard it is to get admission into the MBChB program. Medical foundation courses like HPFP, therefore, prescribe strict standards for admission. You will be evaluated based on your academic performance, character, and enthusiasm you show. The other considerations are age, intellectual abilities, emotional & physical preparedness, and the ability to withstand stress.
Pre-med Programs Course Content
Principles of Biology
The biology part of the course will focus on the human body. Different theories will be covered in this part. It will include cell theory, gene theory, homeostasis, and evolutionary theory.
In cell theory, you will learn about history, microscopes, the discovery of cells, interpretations, and types of cells.
In gene theory, the focus will be on the origin of life, genetics, and hereditary. The program will also include etymology, history, DNA, and chromosomes.
In homeostasis, you will learn about blood pressure and glucose level, sodium concentration, fluid balance, gene regulation, and more.
Evolutionary theory will teach gene flow, natural selection, sexual selection, genetic drift, heredity, and more.
General Chemistry & Organic Chemistry
Chemistry is an integral part of the medicine foundation program. To understand drugs and medicines, you need good knowledge of the principles of chemistry. Furthermore, you will learn theories related to chemical reactions, chemical manufacturing processes, and testing in laboratories. Here is a brief introduction to the curriculum.
The curriculum includes chemical bonding, chemical kinetics, thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. The organic chemistry part will introduce the student to the classification of organic compounds, organic reactions, organic synthesis, and more.
Physics for Pre-medical Courses
Physics is crucial in pre-med program courses because medical schools insist on it. It is required to study blood flow, oxygen diffusion mechanisms and use mathematical models in learning various organ systems. The importance of physics cannot be underestimated in treating patients in hospitals.
Physics is also vital in imaging techniques such as CT, MRI, and X-Ray. In orthopedics, physics is essential in studying motions and skeletal joint movements. Other applications include nerve impulse mechanics and pressure and volume correlations.
Mathematics for Pre-med Programs
Mathematics has a profound effect on life sciences, biology, and medicine. Biologists use it to study complex systems and extract data in experiments. No pre-med course or program is complete unless the curriculum includes a sound grounding in using mathematics and models for statistical purposes.
It helps study biochemical, genetics, biomechanics, signaling, and imaging.
Laboratory Training for Pre-med Courses
Laboratory training is a crucial subject in pre-med program courses. It will equip the learner to understand the different aspects of working in a laboratory. The training will help you get familiar with the best practices and methods for working in medical and life science laboratories.
HPFP Program Outcome on Completion
Theory apart, the course will inculcate in you several skills that will help you secure admission into a medical school. The most vital skills you will learn are:
- Shape you into a service-oriented individual
- Learn to fine-tune social skills and abilities
- Become a good team worker
- Improve communication through good training
- Behave responsibly in society, and with associates
- Be open to new ideas and accommodating
- Fine-tune the art of listening to people
The course will mould you into a critical thinker, a scientific enquirer, and an effective communicator.
Looking Beyond Medical School
It may be your primary aim to do a medical foundation course to get into a medical school, but that is not the only option always. There are many other programs that you can consider joining. Here are a few other programs that you can pursue after completing the pre-medical course, such as pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, and optometry, to name a few.
Pre-med and Pharmacy
After completing a pre-med, you can join a Bachelor of Pharmacy program. The degree will help you become a pharmacist. You will learn drug manufacturing techniques, manufacturing instrumentation, preparation of formulations, compounding, and drug dispensing methods.
The pharmacy curriculum is a multidisciplinary program with theoretical and practical skill development training. There is a vast opportunity of jobs waiting worldwide in the pharmaceutical industry. After completing the program, you will have acquired the skills for drug design in an industrial environment.
Pre-med Course and Nursing
Nursing is a much sought-after profession around the world. There are endless opportunities to work in hospitals, healthcare centers, or voluntary medical organizations globally. If you have a zeal for serving patients, this profession is for you.
To join the nursing profession, you need to acquire a BSc degree in nursing science. The pre-med course will prepare you for getting admission to a nursing school. The degree program will provide pre-med students with in-depth physical and social sciences knowledge.
During your study at the nursing school, you will do research and learn the concepts of leadership and management, community, and nursing education. It will enhance your ability to cope with the profession’s rigors and broaden your knowledge base.
Joining a Pre-med HPFP Program in Zambia
If you are a motivated person, you are fit to join the HPFP program. It will enable you to apply for admission to a medical school of good repute. A self-appraisal can help you to decide. Here is how to do it.
Are you a caring person? If yes, you qualify to take the HPFP and become a doctor. An empathetic individual can make all the difference to patients. If this quality is in you, you will succeed as a doctor and earn the respect of your patients.
Please check if you have these qualities — empathy, good communication skills and problem-solving abilities, a sense of humor, a commitment to patient advocacy, the ability to learn from experience and think critically, and finally, the skill to manage time.
If your answer is yes to all of these, take the first step today by applying for the pre-med HPFP course.