A group of students graduating from university, pictured with their Dean
Dr Derie Ereg, Dean of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Hargeisa, Somaliland, with some young medical graduates. 

Prepared for Practice (PfP) aim’s to strengthen Somaliland’s health workforce and contribute to improved health outcomes by transforming undergraduate education for doctors, nurses and midwives. By the end of the project, there will be a new generation of graduates that are prepared for clinical practice and able to contribute to improving health outcomes. 

The challenge

Whilst challenges across the health system contribute to poor health outcomes, Somaliland’s health workforce crisis is rooted in challenges in the tertiary education sector. Critical gaps exist in the curricula, lecturers often have no formal pedagogical training, and challenges with the internship and clinical supervision system mean students lack sufficient opportunities to develop their skills in clinical settings. As a result, students often graduate without the knowledge, skills and practical experience they need to practice safe, patient-centred healthcare.

The approach

Prepared for Practice is delivered through a partnership model which connects volunteer health workers and educators from the NHS and UK universities with health schools in Somaliland to promote skills, knowledge exchange and mutual learning. 

The project is strengthening education for health professionals by addressing barriers to the quality of education at individual, institutional and national levels. With funding under the SPHEIR programme, we are:

  • Improving the quality of teaching, learning and assessment for students through an integrated approach of online courses, examination support and clinical supervision so that students can develop their skills in a clinical setting
  • Strengthening the capacity of academic staff and the management of medical, nursing and midwifery schools by supporting staff to develop skills in pedagogy, lesson planning, curriculum development, student assessment and leadership 
  • Strengthening national governance and management of education for health professionals by improving coordination between government and regulators, strengthening medical education policy and national regulation of medical schools 

Highlights

Since 2017, we have:

  • Delivered online distance education courses to over 700 medical, nursing and midwifery students taught 
  • Examined over 500 students and supported partners to implement an evidence-based examination process that tests students’ clinical skills and behaviours
  • Trained over 100 academics on student-centred teaching, pedagogy, assessment and curriculum development
  • Contributed to significant improvements to how medical, nursing and midwifery students are taught and assessed: 100% lecturers participating in the project report making changes to the way they plan lessons, teach and assess students 
  • Supported the Somaliland Government to develop and implement the country’s first Medical Education Policy, outlining how a skilled health workforce will be produced   

'We all take part together and it’s one of our most interesting classes we get in the week. We are very happy to have senior professional doctors from the NHS volunteering their valuable time to teach students.' PfP online course participant

Impact reports

Training Somaliland’s Future Health Workforce - This report focuses on the Health Professions Education (HPE) course or the ‘institutional’ strand of Prepared for Practice. The purpose of the HPE course is to strengthen the teaching practices of health professionals in Somaliland, to ensure medical, nursing and midwifery students enter their professions appropriately prepared for practice in Somaliland. The report found that this course had positive impacts on both the faculty who had taken the courses, and the students whose instructors had taken the course. Download the report at the bottom of this page.

The partners

The PfP partnership is led by King’s Global Health Partnerships, an initiative of King's College London (UK), working with Amoud University (Somaliland), Edna Aden University and Teaching Hospital (Somaliland), University of Hargeisa (Somaliland), MedicineAfrica (UK), and the Tropical Health and Education Trust (UK).

See also