Establishing Medical Schools in Limited Resource Settings
INTRODUCTION: One urgent goal of countries in sub-Saharan Africa is to dynamically scale up the education and work force of medical doctors in the training institutions and health facilities, respectively. These countries face challenges related to the rapid scale up which is mostly done without proper strategic planning, without the basic elements of infrastructure development, educational as well as academic and administrative human resources. Medical education done in the context of limited resources is thus compromising the quality of graduates. In the future, a collaborative and need-based approach involving major stakeholders such as medical educators concerned, ministries, planners and policy makers is needed.
GOAL: This article identifies the challenges of establishing medical schools and sustaining the quality of education through rapid scale-up in Sub-Saharan Africa in the settings of limited resources. It also outlines the minimum requirements for establishing medical schools.
METHODS: A consensus building workshop was conducted in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, from Nov 8-12,2013. Participants were professionals from 13 Ethiopian medical schools, and representatives of medical schools from South Sudan, Somaliland, Somalia, and Mozambique. Participants are listed in Appendix 1.
RECOMMENDATIONS: The governments and stakeholders should jointly develop strategic plans and a roadmaps for opening or expanding medical schools to scale up educational resources. It is advisable that medical schools have autonomy regarding the number of student-intake, student selection, curriculum ownership, resource allocation including for infrastructure and staff development. Health science and medical curricula should be integrated within and harmonized nationally. An educational evaluation framework needs to be embedded in the curricula, and all medical schools should have Health Science Education Development Centers