509.5 Improving access to educational materials in sub Saharan health professions schools

Friday, August 3, 2012: 11:57 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Hugo MERCER , Public Health, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The World Health Organization estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone needs an additional 1.5 million health workers in order to deliver essential health services for its populations. One critical area for technical assistance and investment is in creating an affordable supply of quality textbooks, educational materials and equipment to effectively educate and train the health workforce. Recognizing the important need for more materials for health sciences education and training in the African Region a feasibility study has been conducted in 9 (one Lusophone, five Anglophone and three Francophone) and Sub Saharan countries, under the WHO guidance. The study, conducted in 2011, surveyed 48 key stakeholders, 456 educators and 830 students from 21 medical and 18 nursing schools.

The objective of the study was to review current conditions with respect to market supply and demand; legal and regulatory conditions; and administrative and operational capacity in order to predict the feasibility of establishing and maintaining a textbooks, instructional materials and diagnostic equipment programme and fund in selected countries of the WHO African Region. The information obtained from the study contributes to the stewardship capacity of the national governments.  

The results of the study showed that the current supply of textbooks for medical and nursing students in the selected countries is poor. The access to textbooks is being done mainly through photocopies or lending mechanisms among students. According the students opinions the schools libraries are well stocked but the educators are unsatisfied with the libraries conditions. The reactions towards a programme that will facilitate access to educational materials were studied and a high level of acceptance was found.

Currently the results of the study are being instrumental to the development of a regional fund that will contribute to improve the quality of the educational process.