WACP and Royal College of Physicians target infectious diseases in Sierra Leone

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Members of the West African College of Physicians (WACP) and the Royal College of Physicians, London (RCP) are working together in Freetown this week, delivering an intensive clinical skills course which supports existing efforts to build resilience against infectious disease outbreaks.  

The week-long course at Freetown’s Connaught Hospital, Sierra Leone’s principal adult referral centre, marks the first time the RCP has worked in the country. It is also the eighteenth and final course of the three-year M-PACT programme; a WACP / RCP collaboration aimed at combatting infectious diseases through increasing access to high-quality, up-to-date clinical training.

As with preceding M-PACT courses in Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, this week’s training combines classroom-based teaching on advances in the management of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, Ebola and Lassa fever with workshops on medical leadership and practical sessions on the hospital’s wards. Teaching is split between members of the two Colleges and representatives from Sierra Leone’s national infectious disease control programmes.

The 33 physicians attending the Freetown course work at referral centres across the country and will benefit from several small revisions made to the curriculum as a result of previous participants’ feedback. One such revision is the addition of case presentations, during which participants discuss a recent, particularly challenging case of their own with the group.

Dr. Gibrilla Deen, course convener and Hospital Care Manager at Connaught Hospital, said: ‘The importance of projects such as M-PACT which support Sierra Leone in building resilience to combat future infectious disease outbreaks cannot be overestimated.’

RCP President Professor Jane Dacre added: ‘I’m delighted that we’re working in Freetown for the first time. To be able to reach an entirely new cohort of doctors, while supporting Sierra Leone’s efforts to build resilience seems a fitting conclusion to the M-PACT programme.’

The WACP and RCP enjoy a close and longstanding relationship, with the first major training collaboration beginning in 2009.

The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6 Partnership for African Clinical Training (M-PACT) is a three-year joint project by the WACP and the RCP. Funded by the Ecobank Foundation, the project supports the focus of the United Nations’ MDG 6 by increasing access to physicians with the requisite specialist clinical skills to manage and treat the diseases that comprise this goal.

More than 500 physicians from 10 West African nations have already attended an M-PACT training course in Ghana, Nigeria or Senegal.

The WACP and the RCP would like to thank the Ecobank Foundation for its ongoing support.

For more information / photos, please contact Iain Fossey, Communications Officer with the RCP International Office. +44 (0)20 3075 1631, iain.fossey@rcplondon.ac.uk

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