RCP and West African College of Physicians target infectious diseases in Sierra Leone

RCP members are working with west African colleagues in Freetown to deliver an intensive clinical skills course which supports existing efforts to build resilience against infectious disease outbreaks.

The week-long course began on 1 May at Freetown’s Connaught Hospital, Sierra Leone’s principal adult referral centre, and marks the first time the RCP has worked in the country. It is also the eighteenth and final course of the 3-year M-PACT programme: an RCP / West African College of Physicians (WACP) 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, 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.

... training combines classroom-based teaching on advances in the management of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, Ebola and Lassa fever with workshops on medical leadership and practical sessions on the hospital’s wards

The 33 physicians attending the Freetown course, drawn from referral centres across the country, 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.

Commenting on the course, RCP president Professor Jane Dacre said:

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 against infectious diseases, seems a fitting conclusion to the M-PACT programme.

Dr Gibrilla Deen, course convener and hospital care manager at Connaught Hospital, added:

The importance of projects such as M-PACT which support Sierra Leone in building resilience cannot be overestimated.

Notes to editors

The Millennium Development Goal 6 Partnership for African Clinical Training (M-PACT) is a 3-year joint project by the Royal College of Physicians and the West African College of Physicians. Funded by the Ecobank Foundation, the project supports the focus of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal (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 RCP and the WACP 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: