Newsletter, July 2010

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SAMSS Newsletter, July 30, 2010


Dear Colleague,

The Sub-Saharan African Medical Schools Study (SAMSS) tracks innovations in medical education in Sub-Saharan Africa.  This Newsletter and the website are designed to raise awareness about issues related to medical education in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Using this information, policymakers, donors and medical educators can make informed decisions that will strengthen their health systems. 

In this issue the SAMSS newsletter will focus on new publications and concluding projects.

As part of the SAMSS project, the Sub-Saharan Medical Schools Study has sent site visit teams to ten medical schools across Sub-Saharan Africa.  After each site visit, the team compiled a report describing the school’s successes and challenges.  Each report opens with a series of Findings that highlight noteworthy features and important lessons from the medical school.  Seven of these Site Visit Reports are now available, from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (Nigeria); University of Gezira Faculty of Medicine (Sudan); Walter Sisulu University School of Medicine (South Africa); the Catholic University of Mozambique; Makerere University College of Health Sciences (Uganda); Cocody University (Cote d’Ivoire); and Jimma University School of Medicine (Ethiopia).  Each complete Site Visit Report gives an in-depth view of one institution's curriculum, recruiting and retention strategies, and of the institution's place within its country's health system.

A study published last month in the Annals of Internal Medicine entitled “The Social Mission of Medical Education: Ranking the Schools” has received a lot of attention in the medical education community in the United States.  The lead authors were two professors active in the SAMSS project, Fitzhugh Mullan and Candice Chen.  The study tracked 60,043 physicians who had graduated from US medical schools between 1999 and 2001. The study developed a ranking tool known as “the social mission score” and measured the performance of US medical schools on the following metrics: graduating doctors who practice primary care, who work in undeserved areas, and who are underrepresented minorities.  The authors determined the composite social mission score for 141 medical schools in the US.  The medical schools that ranked the highest were three historically black institutions- Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and Howard University in Washington, D.C.  In a June 14 press release, the authors stressed the importance of the study findings. “The social mission of medicine and medical education should be important to everyone. It isn’t just about rural areas or just about poor people; it’s about the entire fabric of how we deliver care.  As patients are insured through health reform, the first place they will go is the primary care office. Medical schools need to be mindful of the nation’s requirements for primary care, for doctors prepared to work in underserved communities, and for minority physicians to help meet the growing and changing needs of the country.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) this month released the WHO Recommendation and Guideline on “Increasing access to health workers in remote and rural areas through improved retention”.  The report proposes sixteen evidence based recommendations on how to enhance the recruitment and retention of health workers in rural and remote areas.  The four main categories of recommended interventions are education, regulation, financial incentives, and personal and professional support.  The report further proposes a framework and five questions to guide policy-makers on how to select, implement and evaluate rural retention policies. 

, a project that aimed to strengthen community-oriented primary health care in Africa recently ended.  The two year project provided capacity support to postgraduate training in family medicine.  The project promoted linkages and exchanges of knowledge between African institutions in order to develop comprehensive family medicine programs.  The project emphasized the importance of integrating primary health care and family medicine in countries health care system.





Francis Omaswa, MBCHB, MMed, FRCS, FCS

Executive Director, African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation

Co-Chair, SAMSS Advisory Committee



Fitzhugh Mullan, MD

The George Washington University

Principal Investigator, SAMSS


Seble Frehywot, MD, MHSA

The George Washington University

Co-Principal Investigator, SAMSS


On behalf of the SAMSS Advisory Committee




A Maternal and Child Health Clinic in Mali where medical students at the University of Bamako receive clinical training.


SAMSS Advisory Committee

Magdalena Awases PhD, MA, HMPP, RN

Charles Boelen MD, MPH, MSc

Mohenou Isidore Jean-Marie Diomande MD

Dela Dovlo MB Ch.B, MPH, MWACP

Diaa Eldin Elgaili Abubakr MD
Josefo João Ferro MD

Abraham Halieamlak MD

Jehu Iputo MBChB, PhD

Marian Jacobs MBChB

Abdel Karim Koumaré MD, MPH

Mwapatsa Mipando MSc, PhD

Gottlieb Monekosso MD, DSc, FRCP, FWACP, DTMEH

Emiola Oluwabunmi Olapade-Olaopa MD,. FRCS, FWACS

Francis Omaswa MBCHB, MMed, FRCS, FCS

Paschalis Rugarabamu DDS, MDent

Nelson K. Sewankambo MBChB, M.Sc, M.Med, FRCP



SAMSS site visit team with senior leadership from the University College Hospital at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria




The Sub-Saharan African Medical Schools Study
The SAMSS secretariat is located at The George Washington University Department of Health Policy.
SAMSS is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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