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Emergency medicine registrar training in Africa: overview of programmes, faculty and sustainability


Background The specialty of emergency medicine (EM) is new in most African countries, where emergency medicine registrar (residency) programmes (EMRPs) are at different stages of evolution and little is known about the programmes. Identifying and describing these EMRPs will facilitate planning for sustainability, collaborative efforts and curriculum development for existing and future programmes. Our objective was to identify and provide an overview of existing EMRPs in Africa and their applicant requirements, faculty characteristics and plans for sustainability.

Methods We conducted a descriptive cross-sectional survey of Africa’s EMRPs between January and December 2017, identifying programmes through an online search supplemented by discussions with African EM leaders. Leaders of all identified African EMRPs were invited to participate. Data were collected prospectively using a structured survey and are summarised with descriptive statistics.

Results We identified 15 programmes in 12 countries and received survey responses from 11 programmes in 10 countries. Eight of the responding EMRPs began in 2010 or later. Only 36% of the EMRPs offer a 3-year programme. Women make up an average of 33% of faculty. Only 40% of EMRPs require faculty to be EM specialists. In smaller samples that reported the relevant data, 67% (4/6) of EMRPs have EM specialists who trained in that EMRP programme making up more than half of their faculty; 57% of Africa’s 288 EMRP graduates to date are men; and an average of 39% of EMRP graduates stay on as faculty for 78% (7/9) of EMRPs.

Conclusion EMRPs currently produce most of their own EM faculty. Almost equal proportions of men and women have graduated from a predominantly >3-year training programme. Graduates have a variety of opportunities in academia and private practice. Future assessments may wish to focus on the evolution of these programme’ curricula, faculty composition and graduates’ career options.

  • emergency care systems
  • emergency care systems, emergency departments
  • emergency department
  • education

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