New Publication Spotlight: Journal Highlights Medical Education Partnership Initiative’s Collaboration to Strengthen African Medical Schools

CapacityPlus’s Rebecca Bailey, Dykki Settle, and Christopher Deery contributed to a special supplement of Academic Medicine on progress made by the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI).

Academic Medicine supplementFunded by PEPFAR, MEPI aims to increase the capacity and quality of African medical education, improve retention of medical graduates, and promote regionally relevant research in sub-Saharan African medical schools through locally-led innovative programs.

As the foreword to the supplement points out, sub-Saharan Africa bears 25% of the global burden of disease but has only 3% of the world’s health workers. While MEPI is directly involved with only a small number of the more than 170 medical schools in Africa, the examples presented in the supplement will hopefully contribute to expanded investment and innovation in medical education around the world.

The supplement is organized into perspectives from the US Government, commentaries, innovation and implementation reports, and reports in brief.

Community-based education programs
CapacityPlus is collaborating with the MEPI Coordinating Center, MEPI Community-Based Education (CBE) Technical Working Group, and MEPI-supported medical schools in seven African countries with the aim of strengthening the schools’ capacity to define the objectives of CBE programs; apply relevant CBE models and practices; and monitor, evaluate, and continuously improve CBE programs.

  • Community-Based Education Programs in Africa: Faculty Experience within the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Network. This article examines the various models, challenges, and evaluative efforts of community-based education programs at MEPI schools and makes recommendations to strengthen those programs in the African context. Data were gathered from 12 MEPI schools. All schools reported a number of challenges in meeting the demands of increased student enrollment. Planned strategies used to tackle these challenges include motivating faculty, deploying students across expanded centers, and adopting innovations. Although the programs have similar goals, their strategies for achieving these goals vary. To identify approaches that successfully address the challenges, particularly with increasing enrollment, medical schools need to develop structured models and tools for evaluating the processes, outcomes, and impacts of community-based education programs. Such efforts should be accompanied by training faculty and embracing technology, improving curricula, and using global/regional networking opportunities.

Graduate tracking
In the area of graduate tracking, CapacityPlus is collaborating with the MEPI Coordinating Center, MEPI Physician Tracking Technical Working Group, and MEPI-supported medical schools in 11 African countries to identify and/or develop resources and good practices for graduate tracking and to foster exchange through a regional graduate tracking network.

  • Graduate Tracking Systems for the Medical Schools in Africa: Processes for Developing an Implementation Framework. Human resources for health are critical for effective health systems. In Africa, the number of doctors and nurses required to provide essential health services will be deficient by an estimated 800,000 in 2015. Numerous interventions have been implemented to mitigate these shortages; tracking graduates from African universities is critical to determine whether interventions are effective. Based on a community of practice theory, a Graduate Tracking Technical Working Group was established within the MEPI network. The group, with CapacityPlus, developed graduate tracking requirements for MEPI institutions and countries through a collaborative process. A framework was created to guide the establishment of graduate tracking systems consisting of seven core processes or elements: 1) general requirements; 2) locate graduates; 3) collect/update information; 4) search and view information; 5) create tracking survey tools; 6) manage tracking survey response data; and 7) generate reports.

To learn more, read the full articles and check out the complete supplement.

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