Physical Diagnosis and Care Coordination in Libya: Medical Mission Work Focused on Capacity Building and Education (Published 2015)
Apr 06, 2016
This paper explores the efforts of International Medical Corps (IMC) when in 2011 they tried to expand support to hospitals throughout Benghazi, Libya during an eight month period of conflict.
How do you make the most impact in a single medical mission? by focusing on education and capacity building. International Medical Corps (IMC) deployed an emergency response team to Libya on February 24, 2011 and was one of the first international NGOs to arrive in Benghazi on February 27. Over the next year as the eight month war waged on, efforts expanded to support hospitals throughout the country. What follows is an internist’s account of a volunteer mission in Sabha, Libya in January 2012. The mission included delivering systems based practice lectures to senior attendings and the development of a short physical diagnosis course for medical students. The work provides insights about the medical education needs of the Libyan medical community. Approaching medical mission work from an educational capacity building perspective can have long term rewards both for the recipient health system and for the missioner.
Describing the development and delivery of medical education in difficult circumstances is not always seen as an academic exercise; however we can all learn from these descriptions.
I enjoyed reading this paper and always stand back in awe at the fantastic work that is carried out in such situations.
Gary D. Rogers
Thank you for sharing this fascinating account of medical education work in an extraordinarily challenging environment. The author's thoughtful and scholarly approach to making a difference in a setting where the need is so profound stands and an inspiration to us all as we obsess over the relatively minor frustrations we face in our daily lives as educators in the developed world.
This is a very interesting narrative paper on medical education mission in Libya. It may be really beneficial to read both this paper and the other MedEdPublish file “Medical educators working abroad: Who are they? “ as both of them touch the same issue of medical educators working abroad, sometimes in a very difficult and even dangerous environment. The author aptly concludes that in certain cases of complex environments it is more beneficial to “teach how to fish instead of giving a fish” with the well designed and implemented educational intervention being the key to the most effective help.
I would be very happy to know more on the course design and especially if the simulated patients cases where tailored to the local cultural context. Both history taking and physical examination require the highly contextual cultural competence and without taking these factors into account students’ participation in clinical cases based on the other culture may become a fascinating experience with little transfer to the future practice. Also, I am not sure if I understand properly that 63 students practised history taking and a thorough physical examination on one simulated patient being the author of this paper. It is quite difficult to imagine such situation without compromising the quality of intervention or putting the simulated patient’s health into a serious risk. Both remarks expressed above do not diminish the importance of this particular mission and the other activities aimed at helping countries with special medical education needs. I hope that AMEE 2016 sessions on “Medical Education under Difficult Circumstances “ will form a perfect forum for the further exchange of expertise in this area.