Organised under the theme, ?Innovations in Health Professional Education,? the workshop has drawn more than 100 participants from eastern Africa and other regional countries to collectively address difficulties faced in the health sector as a result of curriculum deficiencies.

Dr Solange Hakiba, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health, said implementation of several health programmes in sub-Saharan Africa still faces a pile of hurdles which can only be addressed within medical schools before students pass out.

?Since most skills of health professionals are acquired within school, relevant lessons can iron out most of the challenges in the sector as well as guarantee suitable employment to all health workers,? Hakiba said.

Hakiba cited brain drain and health workers switching professionals as the biggest limitations to health access, yet estimates from the World Health Organisation indicate most affected countries would need to scale up health professionals by as much as 140 per cent to attain international health development targets.

However, Prof. Sarah Kiguli, the chairperson of East African Health Professionals Educators Association, attributed the shortage of medical professionals in the region to poor funding.

?Lack of enough numbers limits access to health services but poor funding has promoted the habit of good health workers practicing in towns while abandoning rural settings,? Kiguli said.

She added that if good incentives are given more health professionals can be lured into practicing within areas outside town.

Magnifique Irakoze, a medical student at University of Rwanda, said the demand for more medical labour grows with that of evidence based knowledge, hence local health workers should forge relationships with regional partners to acquire more knowledge.

?When you visit the ward as a doctor, it should not necessitate you to open your books in search of new developments, therefore, through sharing with others in the profession you move at par with the trend,? he said.

Solomon Asaba, The New Times


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