Director Medical Education and Training up

– A three-day Regional Consultation on Medical Education and Training got underway today (Wednesday) in Brazzaville Congo. Organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), the meeting is discussing how the quality and relevance of medical education and training can be improved in the African Region.

Addressing the delegates, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo, pointed out that progress made by some countries in the Region towards achieving the Millennium Devel-opment Goals (MDGs) was being constrained by health systems challenges including the shortage of well-trained health workers.
Although Sub-Saharan Africa has 24% of the global burden of disease, it has only 3% of the world's health workers. While the need for health care in the Region has increased, the availa-bility of health workers either stagnated or declined. “Of the 47 countries in the WHO African Region, 22% are actually having a declining density of core health worker namely doctors, nurses and midwives”, said Dr Sambo.

The Regional Director called on delegates to come forward with concrete suggestions on how best to scale up the quantity and quality of Africa's medical graduates taking into account Africa's unique epidemiological context, public health threats, and underlying cultural, social and economic determinants. He said: “A key challenge that I hope we can start to address with practical suggestions is the professional development, motivation and retention of medical educators and trainers in Africa”.

Speaking to reporters, Professor David Gordon, President of the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) said: “I think the solution is very much an economic and political one as well as academic. It requires national governments and local authorities as well, to recognize that strong health care education in all relevant disciples and not only in medicine is very important for the social and economic development of the entire continent”.

He pointed out that countries need to balance socio-economic development with the develop-ment of high quality medical education. He drew attention to the role of the World Federation of Medical Education in promoting the highest standards in medical education across the world.

In her remarks, Dr Margaret Mungherera, President of the World Medical Association (WMA) disclosed that the body had embarked on a five-year capacity building programme for African national medical associations to enable them play a more effective role in strengthening national health systems.

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