Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Call for the Establishment of a Public Health Training Program for Medical Professionals

The 62nd session of the WHO regional committee for EMRO convened in Kuwait City, Kuwait last week. The session examined a range of important topics including developing a framework for action on strengthening medical education.

Medical education is becoming an important part of the national health and education systems. Medical education reform is a priority that links with the national health system reform goals. KIMS, the supreme national body responsible for postgraduate medical education, currently offers medical graduates in Kuwait a wide range of medical training programs in a variety of medical and dental fields, including family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, among others.

Through offering these programs, KIMS plays an increasingly important role in shaping the national policy on medical education and the future development of the medical workforce. A key to postgraduate medical education reform, however, is to link medical training output with the national health needs. The dissociation between demand for and supply of skilled medical professionals has been a common criticism of the national health policy in Kuwait.

One area where this dissociation at the national policy level is strikingly discernible is public health. In the teeth of global trends in medical education where medical graduates increasingly pursue careers in public health, and despite the growing national need for public health skills, KIMS does not currently offer any public health training program for medical professionals. 

The development of a medical training program in public health would be an important priority and a much-needed addition to the Kuwaiti medical education landscape. Now, especially after last week's endorsement by the WHO, the development of such a program should be put high on the national health policy agenda.