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Medical education in developing countries 

Medical education in developing countries
Medical education in developing countries

Francesca Celletti

, Eric Buch

, and Badara Samb

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date: 21 October 2021

The emerging market economies (EMEs) are undergoing rapid demographic and epidemiologic transitions. The health of the population in most of these countries is threatened by the double burden of lifestyle-associated diseases, and new and existing infectious diseases. The issue is whether medical education of health professionals in these countries is suitable to educate and train a workforce to deal with these health challenges and the changing needs of the EMEs. This chapter outlines the evolution of medical education in the EMEs by exploring the characteristics, challenges and achievements of the two distinct phases of evolution—the establishment phase and the development phase. It then highlights some of the key challenges in medical education in the EMEs, which include:

a curriculum that does not meet the needs of the population

outdated teaching methods that include mainly didactic, classroom-based teaching, which in turn encourages rote learning

shortage of trained full-time teachers, specifically in clinical rather than basic sciences teaching

issues related to appropriate accreditation and standardization of medical education in the ever-increasing number of medical schools

a continued focus on specialist-oriented education at the cost of family medicine and public health

inadequate teaching of bioethics.

The chapter then examines the current state of medical education in the EMEs and outlines the alignment of population and health system needs with medical education in these countries since 1950 and the subsequent issues that have arisen due to the introduction of changes. While some initiatives to update the curriculum, teaching and learning methods, accreditation and standardization were introduced, the efforts were uncoordinated and disparate. Finally, the chapter looks at some possible choices that are available to EMEs to develop suitable, sustainable, fit for purpose medical education systems to educate and train their health professionals to face continuing local challenges. There needs to be social and political will and regional and global collaboration to ensure that tomorrow’s doctors in the EMEs are fit for purpose to provide appropriate and humane care to their populations.

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