The Bagamoyo project has gained a lot of steam in the past couple weeks. There had been a bit of a lag since I left in May due to the amazing amount of work being done at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and UCSF to complete the MUHAS curriculum review process. This process includes instituting competencies to be gained from each course. they are rewriting the curriculum across the entire university. As a result of this activity, my project in Bagamoyo has gotten little attention in recent months. Some renovations are nearing completion, but the real meat of the project, incorporating the District more fully into the curriculum, getting students and faculty out there to help with their critical shortage of clinicians, create an opportunity for inter-professional education, and developing student and faculty projects and research to address specific health issues has been overshadowed by the immense amount of work to prepare for the start of the semester on November 1, 2010. MUHAS trains the bulk of health professionals in the country.
Being here and having retreats with MUHAS leadership this past two weeks has afforded the opportunity to develop specific educational programs that address specific competencies, including inter-professional learning and understanding the health system. It also helped that President Kikwete singled out the project in Bagamoyo District as an example of how the collaboration between MUHAS, UCSF and the District is improving the quality of care and community health status in the District. It was stunning, if a little 'cart-before-the-horse.' We'll take it.
The project is now rapidly moving forward again. This past week we put together a series of inter-professional education days at the Bagamoyo District Hospital. The initial series will focus on maternal and child health and include medical students from both OB/GYN and pediatrics rotations, nursing students, pharmacy students, and environmental health students working together in small teams. We will add dentistry students as soon as we figure out the logistics of their being able to both assessments and treatment. This is the first opportunity students at MUHAS will have ever had to work together as a team and gain an understanding of how each discipline fits together in individual cases (versus broader theory). The first inter-professional day is scheduled for November 30, 2010, and they will continue each week (or two depending on the flow of the academic year) with another set of small teams building on the work of students from the previous week.
In addition, since Bagamoyo is a health district that covers a huge area and the roads from Bagamoyo town/hospital to the western (and larger) part of the district can be impassible during the rainy season (it is easier to get there from Dar), we are putting together another maternal and child health program in a rural health center on the western side of the District. There, students and faculty will present trainings for staff, identify staff to serve as trainers, work together clinically, and also help them with data collection in their service area, including with android phones.
In another project, I am helping MUHAS improve their research administration function and develop a research agenda. The plan is to integrate health districts, including Bagamoyo, into the research agenda at MUHAS.
It is amazing how much can happen so quickly. I'm looking forward to a site visit to Bagamoyo this week with a few key people from MUHAS to nudge the project along even further. They are so excited to see progress and the prospect of additional clinical help and continuing education in their very under-served district.