Africa: $130 Million From United States to Train Doctors in a Dozen Countries
Dr. James Kiarie
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: October 11, 2010
The United States will donate $130 million to African medical schools to improve medical education on the continent, the Obama administration announced last week. The donations, to be made over five years, will go to about 30 medical schools and teaching hospitals in a dozen countries, and to about 20 American medical schools that have agreed to collaborate with them.
Although most of the money will come from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, it will go to train doctors in all sorts of medical skills, including surgery, childbirth and infant care.
Africa’s hospitals and clinics face a constant “brain drain” of doctors and nurses because Western aid agencies and countries elsewhere offer higher salaries. Various grants will, for example, support exchanges of professors between American medical schools and African ones, supplement the salaries of doctors who might otherwise quit or moonlight to make ends meet, pay for technology that will let medical students present cases from remote clinics, and underwrite scholarships so students from poor families can be recruited. Some of the money will go to equip laboratories; some could buy teaching tools, like models of a woman giving birth that obstetrics students can practice with.
Dr. Michael P. Johnson, deputy director of a National Institutes of Health center providing part of the $130 million, said he hoped the program would have the “side effect” of making American medical schools better at teaching rural health along with the high-tech medicine they excel at.