A group of physicians and dentists with expertise and interest in medical education selected from Nigerian and US medical schools are part of six Technical Working Groups (TWGs) assembled by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to produce a blueprint for the reform of medical and dental education in Nigeria.
In response to an appeal by the Deans of Nigerian medical schools, the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) secured the support of USAID to provide financial and logistical support for a comprehensive review of the curricula of Nigeria’s 36 medical schools. Several other Nigerian stakeholders are participating in the project, including the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), and the National Universities Commission (NUC).
Many of these institutions currently utilize a version of the curriculum adapted from the original form introduced by the University College London, almost 60 years ago. To help Nigeria’s medical schools respond to the current health needs of the country, USAID’s Health Systems 20/20 Project is supporting the NUC, MDCN and FMOH through a series of activities to update the current undergraduate Medical and Dental curricula.
The goal is to create a platform that brings together relevant stakeholders to review existing literature and experience in utilizing medical curricula in Nigeria and around the world and thereafter produce a template that proposes a model on how medical education could meet the current needs of medical practice in Nigeria. According to USAID, “training health workers especially at the foundational level with the most up to date curricula for their local working environment is ……critical to health systems strengthening.”
The project, anticipated to be completed over a 2 year period began with initial meetings held in Abuja on March, 2011 and subsequently on December 13-14, 2011. Further meetings of the TWGs are planned in 2012.
ANPA has been represented by Fiemu Nwariaku, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery and Associate Dean of Global Health at the University of Texas-Southwestern, Dallas (President); Vincent Idemyor, MD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Illinois, Chicago; Christopher Okunseri, BDS, Associate Professor at the Marquette University School of Dentistry, Milwaukee; Igho Ofotokun, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University, Atlanta; Echezona Ezeanolue, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and Benedict Nwomeh, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Surgery at The Ohio State University, Columbus.