Opportunities for continued medical learning are scarce for rural physicians in northern Ghana. This is a problem, as medicine is a dynamic field where clinical practice needs to be regularly modified to reflect the most up-to-date evidence. Thus, it’s critical to a physician’s skill to have access to continued medical education (CME). This gap not only hinders the ability for physicians currently in the north to remain up-to-date. It also disincentivizes younger new physicians from establishing their practice in the north. Together, this reinforces the disparity in health status and health resources in Ghana.
Around the world, Grand Rounds have historically been a common way for physicians to access CME and stay current. This involves weekly presentations from topic experts that highlight evidence-based best practices.
To help meet the need for CME and mentorship in northern Ghana, GMH began the Community Service Agenda. This is a weekly virtual Grand Rounds, open to all rural healthcare workers in Ghana. For one hour each Thursday afternoon, a physician presents on a specific topic over Zoom and then allows for a discussion period. Topics cover a wide range of key topics, including strokes, kidney disease, heart disease, and more (see list below).
The Community Service Agenda was met with enthusiasm and immediately embraced by the northern medical community. It was even commended and heralded as ‘exceptional’ by the Ghana Medical Association during their 63rd Annual General Meeting. We have an average of 60 attendees per week, which consist of physicians, physician assistants, nurses, students, and pharmacists.
The impact we are seeing goes beyond knowledge transfer. In the short time since launching this virtual series, we have created a local network among physicians and physician assistants. This has improved collaborative case management. It has also resulted in a new referral system that allows rural district hospital physicians to improve care for complicated patients by stabilizing them and getting them transferred for more definitive management at regional hospitals. Lastly, it has created a platform for mentorship and mentee development.
# Our goal is to conduct research that allows us to understand the impact of the Community Service Agenda for health workers in northern Ghana. We want to promote these findings at medical conferences to help elevate the creation of opportunities for CME in Ghana and other Sub-Saharan African countries.
# To complement and enhance access to CME in northern Ghana beyond the Community Service Agenda, GMH wants to host an annual training conference for northern physicians and nurses.
# We need help fundraising for this project to cover the costs of hosting an annual training conference and registering the Community Service Agenda presentations for Continued Professional Development accreditation.
Community Service Agenda Presentations:
July 8, 2021 – Heart Failure
July 29, 2021 – Hepatitis
August 5, 2021 – Asthma
August 19, 2021 – Diabetes Mellitus
August 21, 2021 – Hepatitis B
August 26, 2021 – Migraines and other Primary Headaches
September 2, 2021 – Anemia
September 30, 2021 – Hypertensive Urgencies and Emergencies
October 7, 2021 – Chronic Kidney Disease
October 14, 2021 – Basics of ECGs
October 21, 2021 – Effects of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity on health
October 28, 2021 – Stroke
November 25, 2021 – Malaria
December 2, 2021 – Enteric Fever
January 13, 2022 – Pulmonary Tuberculosis
January 20, 2022 – Nephrotic Syndrome
January 27, 2022 – Peripartum Cardio