Ecobank Foundation alongside two of its partners, the West African College of Physicians and the Royal College of Physicians, London, has launched the second year of a strategic partnership to reduce the impact of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
The Millennium Development Goal 6 Partnership for African Clinical Training, also known by the acronym ‘M-PACT,’ is a three-year project sponsored by Ecobank Foundation and managed by the West African College of Physicians together with the Royal College of Physicians, London.
Through helping to build local capacity, the project supports member countries of the West African College of Physicians in tackling HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. In the first year of the partnership, the project delivered three clinical training courses, one each in Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal. The cities were Ibadan, Accra and Dakar, respectively. The project trained 94 doctors in total, while two ‘Doctors as Educators’ courses were organised in Ibadan and Accra, aimed at raising the skills of local trainers.
The second year of the overall programme began recently with the first course of Year 2 starting off in Ibadan, Nigeria. The programme has enabled doctors in the region to become better equipped to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage the challenging conditions of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. The course also features leadership training for outbreak investigations, given the Ebola crisis that gripped parts of West Africa in the earlier part of 2015.
Senior lecturers of the West African College of Physicians would deliver the courses in collaboration with UK-based consultant volunteers from the Royal College of Physicians.
Course participants in the first year came not only from the capital regions of the three countries, but from six regions in Ghana, six Nigerian states and 10 regions in Senegal. Doctors were invited to these courses and given the opportunity to share course materials with clinicians in their home setting, to ensure further dissemination of course knowledge.
Participants’ feedback indicated that the week-long training courses were engaging and inspiring. Dr. Paul Okojie, participant in the Doctors as Educators course, reflected on his change in teaching practice, saying: “My relationship with trainees has moved a step up from that of a one-way instructor to that of a supportive coach. I have become a more effective, sensitive and responsive communicator of medical knowledge.”
Dr Braimah Baba Abubakari, clinical course participant in Accra, has seen improvements in his practice. “My index of suspicion of TB and HIV cases has gone up and more cases have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment, especially those with co-infection. The incidence of malaria diagnosis on the other hand is reduced because I screen before treatment.”
Reflecting on the training collaboration, Secretary General of the West African College of Physicians, Dr Clement Ezechukwu, remarked that: “The solid experiences lived and the shining milestones reached will provide a sturdy stepping stone on which the second year will take off. What has taken place is already enough to put the collaborative activities between the Royal College of Physicians and the West African College of Physicians on a sound footing. The third tranche will only consolidate this collaboration. We are delighted to have Ecobank Foundation as a partner in this most worthy venture of investing in the health of people in the sub-region and the strengthening of the West African College of Physicians/Royal College of Physicians collaboration.”
About 210 doctors will receive training in the second year of the programme. By year three, the project is expected to have reached more than 600 doctors, most of whom have teaching or supervisory responsibilities. Building on the success of the first year, the second round of clinical courses which commenced in Ibadan, will be followed by similar courses in Dakar, Accra, and Abuja. Although the Millennium Development Goals are set to expire at the end of 2015, the Millennium Development Goals 6 partnership for African Clinical Training will have a lasting legacy with the West African College of Physicians and the Royal College of Physicians continuing to pursue the Millennium Development Goal 6’ mandate of combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

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