Id 219 An Internship In Africa For European Family Doctor Trainees. Does It Make Sense?

Zwart S, Quartero O
Aim(s) or purpose: To assess the pros and cons of an optional traineeship on Travel Medicine and International Health and of the choice for a six weeks internship in Africa (2008 Tanzania; 2010 Republic of South Africa).
Design and method: In the final year of their vocational training, Dutch Family Doctor trainees may apply for a three months specialist interest program. One of these programmes is Travel Medicine and International Health. The training comprises three partitions: 1) Lectures at university, 2) Travel medicine in a regional travel clinic, and 3) Tropical diseases and public health in a hospital in Africa. During the pilot in 2008, five trainees followed the programme, including an internship in a Tanzanian hospital. We report the evaluation of this first episode.
Results: The trainees considered the programme to be a valuable addition to their professional training, on several CanMEDS roles: medical expert (in tropical diseases), communicator (through culture barriers), collaborator (with health workers having qualifications unknown to the trainee) and professional (attitude towards local values). Trainees suggested improvements on the contents of the lectures at university, the housing in Tanzania and the level of teaching and supervision in Tanzania. Trainers desired a stronger educational structure in the training hospital. After assessment, the programme was restructured. Sustainable contacts were made with Pretoria University, RSA and two rural hospitals, with a tradition of teaching medical students.
Conclusions: Pros: Focusing on the internship in Africa, benefits are on several fields: clinical expertise, collaboration and leadership through cultural barriers. For the university, the programme is an attractive ‘exotic’ option in the curriculum. Moreover, it offers opportunities for cross-continental collaboration. Cons: Trainees may gain similar knowledge during a traineeship in a regional centre for tropical diseases. Additional costs are involved and a slightly increased danger on trauma or infection for the trainee.
ID 219
An internship in Africa for European family doctor trainees. Does it make sense?