The Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) supports foreign institutions in Sub-Saharan African countries that receive support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and its partners to develop or expand and enhance models of medical education. These models are intended to support PEPFAR’s goal of increasing the number of new health care workers by 140,000, strengthen medical education systems in the countries in which they exist, and build clinical and research capacity in Africa as part of a retention strategy for faculty of medical schools and clinical professors. MEPI intends to provide up to $130 million over five years in grants to African institutions in a dozen countries, forming a network including about 304 regional partners, country health and education ministries, and more than 20 U.S. collaborators.
The Sub-Saharan African region addresses 25% of the global burden of disease with under 3% of the world’s health care workers. Recognizing the importance of higher education in the production of quality healthcare workers, the 2009 WHO Report on Scaling Up Nursing and Medical Education outlined key opportunities to improve training and retention of the health workforce in low and middle income countries. Additionally, the 2010 Sub-Saharan African Medical School Study (SAMSS) report offers insight into the regional challenges facing African medical schools, and recommends infrastructure development, research opportunities, and a focus on primary care as retention strategies for both faculty and students. Building on these key opportunities, MEPI encourages strengthening educational resources and infrastructure, investing in innovative technologies, and decentralizing educational opportunities.
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