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Experience in the King’s Health Partnership in Somaliland

13 February 2019

At the start of 2011, I was invited by Andy Leather who runs the global health centre at King’s College London to visit the Universities of Amoud and Hargeisa in Somaliland. I was starting a gradual retirement from my work in the medical school and the NHS and that was the first of over 25 visits during the last 8 years.

Each year I have acted as an external examiner for the medical schools’ final examinations and run various sessions on faculty development. It has been very rewarding to work with partners in Somaliland Universities and with THET. King’s have been involved with these partners since 2000 and the stability of the relationship has instilled confidence on both sides and allowed us to develop together.

Over the last two years the faculty work has expanded through a five-year SPHEIR (Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform) grant from DFID. Through this programme we have started a Masters in Health Professions Education for all teachers on health programmes in Amoud, Edna Adan and Hargeisa Universities. Instead of isolated visits we have been able to work with Somaliland colleagues on a three-year Masters course with regular visits and electronic contact through tutorials on Medicine Africa to support the assignments. The programme is popular and nearly 60 local Somaliland staff have joined in the first two-years of the programme.

There are four-modules in the first certificate year, three in the second diploma year and two UK tutors have been to Somaliland to deliver the face to face modules on 10-14 day trips. From next year selected local faculty will begin to co-deliver the modules.

As with all teaching, I have learned more from organising and delivering some of the modules than many will have gained. One of the main things I have learned is about the enthusiasm and resourcefulness of Somaliland faculty in taking part in the courses alongside busy jobs and in difficult circumstances. Our aim is to hand over the programme to local Universities. Amoud University have raced ahead by getting the participants in the programme to organise sessions to pass on their learning to all of their colleagues after the modules. So our plans for sustainability of the programme are being sped up by the Somaliland staff.

I have always felt welcomed by my colleagues in Somaliland and very safe with the logistical support of the THET team. There are even occasional opportunities to enjoy sights of the country such as the cave paintings at Laas Geel dating back over 5,000 years or the camel market in Hargeisa.

This post was written by:

Professor John Rees - Emeritus Professor of Medical Education, King’s College London


  • guu
    31 Jul 2020 19:04
    you dont mention gollis unversity medical school though
  • Abdirashid ali
    15 Feb 2019 19:14
    You are always welcome to somaliland

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