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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12

Working collaboratively to support medical education in developing countries: The case of the Friends of Moi University Faculty of Health Sciences

1 James Cook University School of Medicine, Townsville, Australia
2 Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya
3 Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
4 Wishard Memorial Hospital, Indianapolis, IN, USA
5 Linköping University, Linkoping, Sweden

Correspondence Address:
K Oman
James Cook University School of Medicine, Townsville
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 17647179

Context: Developing and sustaining medical schools in developing countries can be challenging. Some collaborations between medical schools in developing countries and one or more medical schools in developed countries have been helpful. However, medical schools in developing countries can be vulnerable to the sudden withdrawal of funds (particularly if they have only one partner). Also, uncoordinated support from multiple partners can lead to problems. Objectives: We describe the 15-year experience of a unique "Friends" consortium, which was established between Moi University Faculty of Health Sciences ("Moi") in Kenya and four medical schools in developed countries. Methods: Information about the Friends' activities with Moi and their relationships with each other was collected from key members of each institution during the annual Friends meeting and through e-mail correspondence. Results: Each school, under the leadership of a few individuals, has maintained a continuous collaboration with Moi. Most of the focus has been on education. Some institutions have been able to expand their activities. Others have maintained more limited but steady support. Coordination of activities of the partner institutions has been facilitated by annual joint meetings, leading to clarity about needs to be met as well as ways to avoid overlap. Discussion: We believe that effectiveness of the individual efforts of each institution have been enhanced through working cooperatively. Ongoing problems include gaps in support at Moi, with uneven program development in some areas. Conclusions: We have learned that working together cooperatively has increased the effectiveness of individual efforts, and encourage others to consider adopting a "Friends" consortium model through actively contacting other partners. National or international health education organizations may be able to play a role in facilitation of these relationships.

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