Supporting State-of-the-Art Skills Development for Rwandan Physicians

Supporting State-of-the-Art Skills Development for Rwandan Physicians

Rwandan physicians receive continuing professional development. (Photo credit: C. Tran Ngoc/MSH)Rwandan physicians receive continuing professional development. (Photo credit: C. Tran Ngoc/MSH)

Maintaining state-of-the-art skills and knowledge is crucial for physicians. But in most developing countries, the lack of structured or ongoing educational activities has pushed medical doctors to travel abroad to benefit from the most recent expertise.

To solve that problem---and improve Rwanda's health system---the Rwanda Medical Council (RMC) launched the continuing professional development program in 2011. The continuing professional development sustains practitioners' knowledge through workshops, seminars, practical sessions, and research.

The USAID Integrated Health Systems Strengthening Project (IHSSP), led by Management Sciences for Health, provided technical and financial support to the RMC for the implementation of the continuing professional development program by developing strategic and monitoring and evaluation plans, helping to run an office, accrediting health professional societies as continuing professional development providers, and preparing the national sensitization campaign.

In 2012, 30 training courses were provided to 1,585 participants. Courses included: internal medicine, surgery, gynecology and obstetrics, anesthesiology, noncommunicable diseases, radiology, dermatology, critical care, cancer, ethics, project management, and evidence-based healthcare.

Dr. Emmanuel Musoni works in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department of the Kanombe Military Hospital. He says that the CPD program helped him reduce the duration of hospitalization for patients who had a caesarian section from five to two days by applying a session about the relevant use of antibiotics after surgery to improve his practice. Before, Dr. Musoni gave antibiotics systematically to every woman having a caesarian section, according to a former protocol. Now, the patients receive antibiotics only for specific indications, decreasing the risk of antibiotic resistance and the length of patient’s stay.

The CPD program is now fully implemented countrywide.

Candide Tran Ngoc is senior communications specialist for IHSSP in Rwanda.

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