- What we do
- Medical careers & training
- CPD, education & revalidation
- My RCP
The West African College of Physicians (WACP) offers postgraduate medical education in the Anglophone countries of West Africa: Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It has also started expanding into Francophone states. In cooperation with national governments and the West African Health Organisation, it aims to fulfil its mission: To improve the health of West Africans through excellence in training of medical specialists, and the provision of high quality health care.
The WACP and the RCP signed a formal agreement in 2008, launching a joint effort to improve standards of clinical training in West Africa. The three-year programme Health system strengthening through partnership was launched in 2009, supported by an unrestricted grant from Pfizer Inc. We are now looking new ways to develop our collaboration, so that we can continue working together to improve the health of West Africans.
Using RCP expertise in medical education, a WACP faculty is being trained to deliver educational workshops for doctors and other healthcare professionals. The core of this is the ‘Doctors as educators’ programme, which trains consultants in the skills needed to provide effective support and supervision to the next generation of clinicians. 120 doctors have already taken part in these seminars, some of whom undertook additional training to allow them to lead their own workshops. The first purely WACP-led ‘Doctors as educators’ sessions have already taken place, to great acclaim from participants.
This sustainable model of faculty development means that we can now look to expand our educational collaboration to other areas: medical leadership, curriculum design and assessment are all high priorities if the WACP is to train the clinicians needed by West African populations.
Teaching visits to West Africa: get involved
As part of our cooperation with the WACP, the RCP is offering its UK-based members and fellows the chance to visit teaching hospitals in West Africa to share the latest advances in their specialty. Consultants with at least three years' experience have the opportunity to support WACP-accredited institutions on two-week teaching visits by delivering lectures, demonstrating the latest clinical procedures and participating in the hospital's daily activities.
Previous visits to West African centres have been a success, and the RCP is grateful for the interest shown by its members and fellows. There will be more opportunities to undertake short clinical teaching visits in 2012. For the latest vacancies, please see the International Update news page for details of upcoming placements.
UK Clinical training
A number of doctors have been trained in sub-specialty areas identified as urgent priorities by the WACP. These doctors, in the formative years of their careers, receive focused sub-speciality training in the UK for three-month periods. Previous participants have returned to their countries with new expertise and renewed enthusiasm to improve care and launch new services.
The trainees are often identified by UK consultants on teaching visits in West Africa, who then host the trainee at their UK hospital. These two programmes thus work together to foster personal links between the RCP and WACP membership, and create opportunities for independent collaboration between centres of excellence.
To aid improvements in clinical training, the RCP has also provided WACP accredited teaching institutions with Medical Masterclass Institutional Premier packages, the RCP's distance-learning resource.
Joint scientific conference
In November 2011 a joint conference in Banjul, The Gambia, celebrated the partnership between the two colleges. The event brought together officers, staff, members and fellows to share knowledge and expertise, and plan future collaborations. Two joint symposia covered recent advances in human nutrition and emerging infectious diseases.
A vision for the future
As the first phase of our collaboration comes to a close, the WACP and RCP are looking ahead, exploring new ways to expand and develop our partnership. Strengthening the structural and human capacity of the WACP will be vital if it is to become a truly independent institution, and a leading voice for the medical profession in Africa. The two colleges are currently in discussions to secure external support to:
- consolidate and expand on the progress made towards a sustainable education faculty
- strengthen the WACP secretariat so that it can support a broader and more effective programme of work
- help the WACP harness the skills and networks of its members and fellows, to engage with key decision-makers and advocate for the healthcare policies and programmes that will improve the health of West Africa.