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Somaliland medical student OSCE exam ;

Improving Quality of Education for Somaliland's Health Workforce

Catherine Setchell

Senior Communications Officer, King's Global Health Partnerships

01 December 2021

As King’s Global Health Partnerships’ five-year project to improve the quality of education for medical, nursing and midwifery students in Somaliland, draws to an end, we are launching a series of reports reviewing the impacts of the project.

Working in partnership with three Somaliland universities – Amoud University, University of Hargeisa and Edna Adan University – the Prepared for Practice project aimed to increase the number of well-trained health workers entering the health system by:

  1. Strengthening capacity of academic staff and teaching institutions;
  2. Supporting undergraduate teaching, examination and clinical supervision;
  3. Strengthening national governance and management of education for health professionals.

Strengthening capacity of teaching staff and institutions

The first impact report in this series, Training Somaliland’s Future Health Workforce: Strengthening the Quality of Teaching shows how the capacity of teaching staff at the three universities has improved thanks to the introduction of a Master’s course in Health Professions Education, aimed at enhancing the teaching practice of health faculty.


HPE course Somaliland

Over the duration of the project, 90 teaching staff enrolled on the Health Professions Education (HPE) course from three Somaliland universities – 55 teaching staff gained a Certificate level, 28 gained a Diploma level and 16 gained a Master’s level.

The course is delivered online and taught by experienced volunteers from the UK health and education sector, who also deliver face to face tutorials during short visits to Somaliland, combined with online follow-up and assessment. It equips teaching staff with an understanding of educational theory and enhances skills in teaching and assessment, creating an effective environment for medical and nursing students to achieve relevant clinical competence.

Impacts of the HPE course on teaching staff

The report found that teaching staff who took part in the HPE course improved their teaching practice and assessment of medical, nursing and midwifery students. Their classes are now more interactive and practical-based; they listen to student feedback; and with new skills in curriculum development and valid assessment design, teachers now consistently plan and prepare their courses and examinations.

[The HPE] changed the way we teach from spoon-feeding to actively making the students […] participate and learn and develop their personal way of learning”– Lecturer at Amoud University

A number of professional and personal development outcomes for teaching staff, particularly for women, have arisen from the HPE. Increased confidence, professionalism and opportunities for career development can be seen at all three universities. And the course has had a much wider reach than originally expected, with participants inspiring many of their peers to change their approach to teaching, by sharing their learning and running trainings for their colleagues.

HPE course Somaliland female faculty
HPE gave me brand new speakers to talk [through]. Because now I can confidently talk about how medical or health professionals should be educated and I am not afraid of it. Previously I could say this isn’t maybe my area, maybe I have to research and look into it, but now I am equipped. I can say no this is not how we do it, this is how we are supposed to do it or approach it”.– Senior Clinical Staff at University of Hargeisa

Impacts of the HPE course at the institutional level

The project set out to embed the HPE course and a culture of continuous professional development at our three partner universities in Somaliland. Hargeisa and Amoud Universities are now independently leading the delivery of the HPE courses to new faculty members, run by previously trained participants of the HPE Master’s degree. They have also set up Education Development Centres to host the HPE courses and active committees for evaluation, assessment and curriculum development ensure HPE lessons are being applied by all faculty. At the University of Hargeisa, the HPE course has even been rolled out across the university, benefiting faculty in other subject areas.

As a result of the HPE courses, all three universities have now made changes to their policies and procedures around teaching and examination, that provide a common standard and approach to the assessment of their students, ensuring that only those students that meet an acceptable level of knowledge, skills and competencies graduate and enter the health profession.

“[management] are doing improvements to harmonize the examinations. Previously every lecturer used to prepare exams the way they want, now they are trying to unify the process and have one format.” – Lecturer at Edna Adan University
OSCE exams University Hargeisa Somaliland

Prepared for Practice is a five-year project run in partnership between King's Global Health Partnerships, Amoud University, University of Hargeisa, Edna Adan University, THET and MedicineAfrica. It is part of the UK aid-funded Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) programme.

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