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Blog: Education Programme Development at Cairdeas by Hannah Ikong

Cairdeas
1st July 2022

Hello! Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Hannah Ikong and I joined as the Education Programming Consultant in March. I have experience in both education and administration in Uganda, the UK, and the USA, and I am delighted to provide support to our most recent education programmes.

This year has been marked by growth in the educational programmes by Makerere Palliative Care Unit (MPCU) and Palliative care Education and Research Consortium (PcERC) in Kampala, Uganda. We have not only expanded our medical student resources and fellowship programme planning but have added a new member to the team. We currently are working on two projects to strengthen our educational goals in palliative care in Uganda: the MMed Family Medicine Expert Lectures and a Palliative Care Fellowship Programme in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

The MMed Family Medicine Expert Lectures are a response to the learning needs of the Makerere University family medicine (general practitioner) students. Postgraduate students often have clinical instructional rotations in different specialities, including palliative care, at the end of their course. The most recent rotation during March 2022 spurred us to create an expert lecture series addressing the primary medicine approach to palliative care. Through the partnership of palliative care specialists around the globe, engaging 30-minute lectures were recorded, designed for group discussions and immediate application in clinical rounds. Topics surrounding complete healthcare worker participation and hospital-specific set up of palliative care and perspectives on palliative care in global, rural, and fragile settings were covered. The students were inspired to incorporate palliative care in their own daily practice. The expert lectures are now being organised and saved for future family medicine students.

While the expert lecture series is coming to an end, we are in the thick of building a Palliative Care Fellowship Programme, which will be the first of its kind in SSA. The Fellowship will begin in Uganda and then we hope branch to other countries under the ambit of the East, Central and Southern Africa College of Physicians (ECSACOP). The palliative care specialist training will be accredited through the Uganda Medical and Dental Partitioners Council and we are delighted to have partnerships to support this through Cairdeas IPCT, members of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and London and members of the Association for Palliative Medicine, UK. We are currently preparing the curriculum and developing the framework. This entails benchmarking other specialist curriculum in Uganda as well as international palliative care programmes. Over the next few weeks, we should finalize the structure and order of content, with the aim to prepare the curriculum for accreditation by September 2022. We must note and thank the ongoing collaboration of several palliative care specialists in and outside Uganda, including doctors Kate Howorth and Kathleen Mcgeough from the UK, volunteering with MPCU and the leadership from DR Elizabeth Namukaya, PcERC .

As we reflect on both the tasks accomplished and remaining, one word comes to mind: collaboration. Palliative care specialists across the globe have provided their expertise and time to create the MMed Family Medicine Expert Lectures, and others are continuing to support in the Fellowship’s curriculum creation and approval. We also have amazing support for the Department of Medicine and Family Medicine at Makerere. We are so grateful for the teamwork and passion being invested in palliative care education. We look forward to outcomes of improved clinical skills and research, and improved access to palliative care in communities around Uganda and beyond. We also invite further collaboration from those interested in the Palliative Care Fellowship Programme or other projects; for enquiries, please contact me, Hannah Ikong at hikong256@gmail.com.