Newsletter, June 2010

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SAMSS Newsletter, June 28, 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 the capacity of health service delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In “HIV/AIDS Workforce Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Leveraging Opportunity for Long-Term Human Development”, Jose M. Zuniga discussed the importance of long term commitments in health workforce development in the region.  The article calls for a strong collaboration and innovative financing both at the national and regional level to achieve sustainable health systems in the region.  The author emphasizes the need for a focused effort by all stakeholders to address not only the challenges of HIV/AIDS but also health workforce recruitment, training, and retention in Africa.

Sufficient training of health care workers is critical in improving quality of care and in achieving the fourth, fifth and sixth millennium development goals in Sub-Saharan Africa.  A cross-sectional study in West Africa explored if pediatric surgery residency training programs address the needs and realities of post-training practices in the region.  A survey of pediatric surgeons showed that most surgeons trained in this region have sufficient exposure in both the surgical and nonsurgical aspects of training.  About 85% of the respondents suggested the establishment of well-equipped children’s hospitals in the region is critical to improve surgical training and practice in West Africa.  In a similar study, a systematic review by Lonkhuijzen et al assessed the effectiveness of training in emergency obstetric care in low resource environments.  The review included 38 papers from different countries and concluded that training resulted in increased knowledge.  The paper also describes measures of positive training programs.    

“Computers, the internet and medical education in Africa”, explores the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in undergraduate medical education in Africa.  There is a limited number of computers available in Africa, limited access and slow internet download times in the region, with East and West Africa the most affected.  The study calls for a partnership to improve ICT infrastructure in medical schools in Africa.

On March 10, 2010 a meeting was held in Montreux, Switzerland to strengthen the capacity of the health workforce information systems.  The technical meeting was organized by the World Health Organization’s Department of Human Resources for Health, the Global Health Workforce Alliance, and the Health Metrics Network in order to establish a Health Workforce Information Reference Group (HIRG).  The meeting focused on strengthening health workforce information systems activities by enhancing the availability and quality of HRH data through a coordinated and standardized approach. 

In “Inequities in the Global Health Workforce: The Greatest Impediment to Health in Sub-Saharan Africa”, Anyangwe explores the scope of the global health workforce crisis and the consequent effect on the Sub-Saharan Africa.  The authors say that “There is simply insufficient adequately trained human capacity, of all cadres, in the region to absorb, apply and make efficient use of the interventions being offered by many new health initiatives.  Among the key problems contributing to the shortages are the insufficient training opportunities.  Africa is woefully lacking in facilities to train health workers.”  The authors argue that the human resource crisis can be tackled by training increased number of health care workers with appropriate mix of skills.





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 lecture hall with medical students, University of Ibadan, Nigeria


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



Medical students in Makerere University, Uganda 


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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