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SAMSS Newsletter, October 29, 2010


Dear Colleague,


This month marked the start of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI).  MEPI is a five-year, $130 million commitment by the U.S. government to transform African medical education and significantly increase the number of health workers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative is designed to support PEPFAR’s goal to train and retain 140,000 new health workers and strengthen the capacity of medical education systems in Africa.  MEPI has awarded grants to thirteen African institutions, including thirty regional partners as well as more than twenty U.S. collaborators.


The following eleven African institutions were the recipients of MEPI’s programmatic awards:


The University of Botswana School of Medicine has partnered with University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health, to strengthen problem-based learning and community-oriented medical education in Botswana.


Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia has partnered with Hawassa University, Haremaya Universities, and the Defense Forces Medical Colleges, as well as Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, University of California, San Diego, and University of Wisconsin.  The consortium aims to utilize innovative methods to train more medical students, improve the quality of training and to provide opportunities for medical faculties to remain in Ethiopia.


The University of Nairobi (UON) in Kenya has partnered with the University of Maryland-Baltimore and the University of Washington to strengthen and build clinical and research capacity in the UON School of Medicine.  UON is also a recipient of a linked award which aims to strengthen maternal, newborn and child health research training in Kenya.


Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Mozambique has partnered with University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Universidade Lurio, Universidade Zambeze, the World Health Organization, the Canadian Network for International Surgery and the American College of Surgeons.  This partnership aims to increase the number of highly skilled medical school faculty in Mozambique. UEM is also a recipient of a linked award that aims to strengthen surgical capacity in rural areas of Mozambique. 


The University of Ibadan in Nigeria has partnered with University of Jos, University of Nigeria, University of Maiduguri, Ahmadu Bello University, University of Lagos, the AIDS Prevention Initiative Nigeria Ltd., Northwestern University and the Harvard School of Public Health.  Through this programmatic award, the University of Ibadan aims to address various difficulties in the Nigerian medical education system including inadequate infrastructure, misplaced priorities, and insufficient resources.


The University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa has partnered with Columbia University to address the shortage of skilled health care personnel to manage the burden of HIV/AIDS in Kwazulu Natal by training more medical, nursing and pharmacy students in undergraduate and graduate programs.


Stellenbosch University in South Africa has partnered with the University of Cape Town Lung Institute, Makerere University and Johns Hopkins University to strengthen its Rural Clinical School (RCS) through improved rural student recruitment, and medical faculty retention and distribution.


Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Tanzania has partnered with Duke University School of Medicine to strengthen and modernize its curriculum by utilizing team-based, problem-based and community-based learning methods.


Makerere University in Uganda has partnered with Johns Hopkins University, Mbarara University, Kampala International University, Case Western Reserve University, Yale University, Medical Research Council, Uganda Martyrs University, Busitema University and Gulu University.  Makerere University aims to strengthen institutional collaboration to enhance the quality of medical education and to create a strong sustainable system in the country. Makerere University is also a recipient of a linked award to build capacity for cardiovascular research and training in Uganda.


The University of Zambia has partnered with Vanderbilt University and University of Alabama-Birmingham to strengthen its capacity to improve the quality and quantity of its medical training programs.  The University of Zambia also received a linked award to improve maternal and child health outcomes through specialty training in Zambia.


University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences (UZCHS) has partnered with the University of Colorado-Denver, Stanford University, the University of Cape Town, University College London and King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry.  This programmatic award will establish the Novel Education Clinical Trainee Researchers (NECTAR) program to increase the number and quality of medical graduates in PEPFAR priority areas; improve retention of UZCHS graduates; and improve the recruitment and retention of academic faculty at the institution.  UZCHS is also a recipient of two linked awards.  The first linked award aims to improve mental health education and research capacity at the University of Zimbabwe.  The second linked award focuses on enhancing the medical school’s curriculum on the following three conditions: heart failure, rheumatic heart disease and hypertension/stroke.


Two African institutions were the recipients of MEPI’s pilot awards: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana has partnered with University of Michigan, Ghana Ministry of Health, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Ghana Ambulance Service.  This pilot program aims to train emergency personnel in injury and acute medical illness management.  The University of Malawi College of Medicine has partnered with University of North Carolina, University of Cape Town and Johns Hopkins University to create a research training program and a surveillance system to manage and monitor HIV-associated cancers.


The George Washington University, in partnership with the African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) will serve as the coordinating center for this endeavor.  ACHEST is an independent “Think Tank and Network” located in Kampala, Uganda.  The purpose of the MEPI-Coordinating Center (MEPI-CC) is five-fold. First, it will provide technical support in medical education and research to each program and every linked grantee. Second, it will conduct evaluations, including formative, summative, and impact evaluations over the next five years. Third it will identify research training and technical support needs and link African institutions to opportunities for improving their biomedical and behavioral research capacities. Fourth, it will promote a shared mission and relationship building for MEPI grantees. Last, the MEPI-CC will develop a web-based communications platform to share MEPI outcomes and data, connecting medical schools in Africa to the Community of Excellence in Medical Education and Research.


MEPI is largely funded by the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC), and will be jointly administered by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health (FIC/NIH) and the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (GHAP/HAB/HRSA).


Recently, the African Journal of Health Professions Education (AJHPE) released its second issue.  The journal seeks to publish information relevant to education of doctors, nurses, midlevel clinicians, and other health professionals.  The journal is published biannually, and the current issue focuses on educating health professionals to meet Africa’s needs. 


In AJHPE’s MB ChB curriculum modernisation in South Africa – growing doctors for Africa”, Janet L Seggie explored the main triggers to medical educational reform in South Africa.  The following three themes informed curriculum reform in South Africa:  “the introduction of student-centered learning in small groups utilizing problem-based strategies, a shift in emphasis from the bio-scientific model of illness to the bio-psychosocial model and an increased exposure to community-based learning opportunities, also encompassing rural settings.”  The author discussed ten major barriers to educational reform such as lack of leadership and oversight of the programme and the lack of defined budget for medical education.  The author highlighted the success and challenges of South Africa’s curriculum reform process including the successful introduction of problem based learning, as well as, the challenge of teaching the “Generation Me”, who rely heavily on the internet for educational resources.




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





    Clinical laboratory at the College of Medicine, University of Malawi



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 Haileamlak 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



  MEPI's Coordinating Center Leadership Team: (left-right) Fitzhugh Mullan, Francis Omaswa and Seble Frehywot




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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