Building capacity in clinical epidemiology in Africa : experiences from Masters programmes

Young, Taryn ; Naude, Celeste ; Brodovcky, Tania ; Esterhuizen, Tonya (2017-02-27)

CITATION: Young, T., et al. 2017. Building capacity in clinical epidemiology in Africa: experiences from Masters programmes. BMC Medical Education, 17:46, doi:10.1186/s12909-017-0885-4.

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ENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: To describe and contrast programmatic offering of Clinical Epidemiology Masters programmes in Africa, to evaluate experiences of graduates and faculty, and assess if graduates are playing roles in research, practice and teaching of Clinical Epidemiology. Methods: We searched and identified relevant programmes, reviewed programmatic documentation, interviewed convenors and surveyed graduates. Participants provided informed consent, interviews with faculty were recorded and transcribed for analysis purposes, and graduates participated in an online survey. Results: Five structured Masters programmes requiring health science professionals to complete modules and research projects were assessed. Demand for programmes was high. Graduates enjoyed the variety of modules, preferred blended teaching, and regarded assessments as fair. Graduates felt that career paths were not obvious after graduating. Despite this, some have gone on to promote and teach evidence-based health care, and conduct and disseminate research. Areas of concern raised by faculty were quality assurance; research project initiation, implementation and supervisory capacity; staff availability; funding to support implementation and lack of experiential learning. Conclusion: Although faced with challenges, these programmes build capacity of health professionals to practice in an evidence-informed way, and conduct rigorous research, which are central to advancing the practice of Clinical Epidemiology in Africa.

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