Decentralised training for medical students : towards a South African consensus
CITATION: De Villiers, M.R. et al. 2017. Decentralised training for medical students : towards a South African consensus. African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine, 9(1):a1449, doi:10.4102/phcfm.v9i1.1449.
The original publication is available at https://phcfm.org/index.php/phcfm
Introduction: Health professions training institutions are challenged to produce greater numbers of graduates who are more relevantly trained to provide quality healthcare. Decentralised training offers opportunities to address these quantity, quality and relevance factors. We wanted to draw together existing expertise in decentralised training for the benefit of all health professionals to develop a model for decentralised training for health professions students. Method: An expert panel workshop was held in October 2015 initiating a process to develop a model for decentralised training in South Africa. Presentations on the status quo in decentralised training at all nine medical schools in South Africa were made and 33 delegates engaged in discussing potential models for decentralised training. Results: Five factors were found to be crucial for the success of decentralised training, namely the availability of information and communication technology, longitudinal continuous rotations, a focus on primary care, the alignment of medical schools’ mission with decentralised training and responsiveness to student needs. Conclusion: The workshop concluded that training institutions should continue to work together towards formulating decentralised training models and that the involvement of all health professions should be ensured. A tripartite approach between the universities, the Department of Health and the relevant local communities is important in decentralised training. Lastly, curricula should place more emphasis on how students learn rather than how they are taught.