COVID-19 and medical education: an opportunity to build back better
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the Hubei province of China has rapidly transformed into a global pandemic. In response to the first few reported cases of COVID-19, the government of Ghana implemented comprehensive social and public health interventions aimed at containing the disease, albeit its effect on medical education is less clear. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 has brought changes that may impact the plan of career progression for both students and faculty. Hitherto, medical education had students getting into contact with patients and faculty in a facility setting. Their physical presence in both in-and outpatients’ settings has been a tradition of early clinical immersion experiences and the clerkship curriculum. Rotating between departments makes the students potential vectors and victims for COVID-19. COVID-19 has the potential to affect students throughout the educational process. The pandemic has led to a complete paradigm shift in the mode of instruction in a clinical care setting. Inperson training has either been reduced or cancelled in favour of virtual forms of pedagogy. The clinics have also seen a reduction in a variety of surgical and medical cases. This situation may result in potential gaps in their training.
Outpatient clinics have transitioned mainly to telemedicine, thus minimizing students’ exposure to clinic encounters. Faced with this pandemic, medical educators are finding ways to best ensure rigorous training that will produce competent physicians. This article discusses the status of medical education and the effect of COVID-19 and explores potential future effects in a resource-limited country.
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