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Leading doctors join forces to fight TB

Thursday 12th February 2015
Senior doctors are using their joint expertise to educate physicians in West Africa. Image Credit: Monkey Business Images Ltd
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    Some of Africa's leading physicians are joining together to give less experienced doctors advice about how to deal with diseases targeted in the United Nation's (UN) Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6.

    The representatives from the West African College of Physicians (WACP) are delivering a ‘Doctors as educators’ course in Accra, Ghana. The main aim of the seminar is to increase the level of medical training among doctors in West Africa, boosting the ability the region has when it comes to dealing with common diseases.

    The course marks the next stage of the ambitious M-PACT project championed by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and WACP, which aims to control the outbreak of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (TB).

    During the three-day training course - consisting of multiple workshops - participants will be able to learn about the best teaching and learning theories, as well as how to better manage, supervise and assess in the workplace. It will focus on developing the current skills local doctors have and making these effective for training and supervising other staff members.

    A series of clinical skills training courses will be held after the ‘Doctors as educators’ courses, and will focus on how HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and outbreak investigations can be best managed. It is hoped that this additional programme will help establish regional centres, which have a high level of medical expertise to treat the variety of diseases.

    Dr Tunde Salako, a representative from the WACP, said the new programme will be a valuable tool in terms of preparing less experienced, junior doctors for the role they will take up in training and supervising other healthcare professionals.

    In addition, Dr Salako said the clinical courses will target medical officers in peripheral hospitals/resident doctors, while also providing the trainees with the opportunity to learn about the current national policy including areas of innovation in the management of TB, HIV, Malaria and their complications.

    The overall objective of the project is to deliver 18 courses, which will reach more than 500 physicians across West Africa. Once completed, each doctor who has undergone the training will spend time in a district community hospital in a resource-poor setting to ensure that the benefits of the initiative are shared widely across the population. 

    Professor David Warrell, RCP international director, highlights the importance of such movements, saying: "The MDG 6 training centres will become a hub for expert clinical training for doctors from across the region and will increase the number of skilled individuals available to treat and manage HIV, malaria and tuberculosis."

    This recent collaboration highlights how doctors of particular specialisms, such as locums, can help people throughout the world in their profession. By doing this, it is hoped that developing countries will get the skills and expertise needed to eradicate or at least substantially limit the number of patients diagnosed with life-changing or even deadly conditions like TB.

    Written by James Puckle

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