The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is supporting the East, Central and Southern Africa College of Physicians (ECSACoP) in its efforts to double the number of physicians being trained in the region by 2030.
Established in December 2015, ECSACoP is rewriting the way in which postgraduate medical education is delivered and assessed in East, Central and Southern Africa. With a common curriculum and standardised training methodologies, the college's postgraduate medical qualification will be accepted as gold standard throughout the region.
The RCP is supporting ECSACoP's Council during this formative period by providing mentorship, technical support and access to a range of external experts to advise on specific challenges faced.
ECSACoP is a 'college without walls', with training centres in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe set to open later this year. In addition to following a training curriculum developed by leading physicians from East, Central and Southern Africa for the region's specific health challenges, the new cadre of physicians trained will be better equipped to lead, manage and steward the vital resources that can dramatically improve health outcomes for all, especially those in remote or difficult-to-reach communities.
Increasing the number of physicians, and transforming their education at the same time, has the potential to accelerate health equity and inclusive economic growth. ECSACoP itself is designed to become self-sustaining after a number of years. Once established, examinations, courses and workshops will become income generators for the college, allowing its council to reinvest in scholarships for additional trainees.
ECSACoP's focus on equipping physicians with the requisite skills to become effective teachers and leaders - as much as effective clinicians - will radically improve the management of health systems in the region. Its goals are to:
ECSACoP’s current priority is the accreditation of training centres – institutions across the region where the new postgraduate training curriculum will be delivered.
The first accreditation of an ECSACoP training centre took place on 2 February 2018 at Zimbabwe’s Harare Central Hospital. Further accreditation visits took place in Zambia at Livingstone Central, Levy Mwanawasa and University Teaching Hospital in April 2018, and then at Kamuzu Central and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, in June 2018.
The RCP also supports the development of ECSACoP through fundraising efforts such as RCP registrar Dr Andrew Goddard's Charter Cycle and identifying sponsorship opportunities.