Education for health professionals in the emerging market economies: a literature review.
Nair M., Webster P.
CONTEXT: Along with economic growth and social reforms, the emerging market economies (EMEs) are undergoing restructuring of their health care systems. There is now an increased focus on disease prevention and primary care, along with a patient-centred approach to health care delivery. However, these changes need to be complemented by alterations in the health care education system. METHODS: A review of the published literature, limited to the last 10 years, was conducted to include recent updates on medical and nursing education. This was done by systematically searching appropriate databases using keywords. This review covers only the common issues related to education and training in EMEs. RESULTS: Issues identified included: the mismatch between the health needs of the population and education curricula; outdated curricula and teaching methods; growing numbers of medical schools; the quality of education, and inadequate career guidance for students to help them make decisions about choosing a health profession as a career and, later, about choosing a field of specialisation. CONCLUSIONS: The literature provides evidence of innovative approaches adopted in several EMEs, which include: outcome-based education; community-oriented medical education; problem-based learning; initiatives to improve quality, and initiatives to resolve the shortage of skilled educators for medical and nursing schools. The health care systems in EMEs are undergoing changes imposed by economic, political and social transition. Reforms in health systems will need to be complemented by educational reforms. Education systems require to be updated through needs-based comprehensive curriculum design and innovative teaching methods. The challenges imposed by the growth in the number of public and private institutions and the need for a standardised accreditation system for quality assurance demand attention. The profiles of both family medicine and community health care will need to be raised and their status enhanced to attract high-calibre students to these specialties.