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New programme aims to help Somaliland health workforce

King's Somaliland PartnershipKing’s Somaliland Partnership launched a new programme, ‘Prepared for Practice’, funded by the Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) fund, which seeks to address Somaliland’s health workforce crisis.

By working in close partnership with Somaliland’s three leading health schools, the partnership, led by King’s Centre for Global Health hopes to transform Somaliland’s higher education system, reaching hundreds of students and faculty, reforming practices and building sustainability.

Currently, teaching institutions struggle to produce medical, nursing and midwifery graduates who can apply what they learned to real world situations, while young graduates have little to no support in the hospital setting but are expected to make life or death decisions.

Over five years, the ‘Prepared for Practice’ programme is aiming to train and examine more medical students than the current number of doctors practising in Somaliland. The project aims to impact every step of the health worker pathway, to ensure that Somaliland’s next generations of health graduates have the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to meet the challenge that awaits them.

Dr Andy Leather, Director of King’s Centre for Global Health, said: “The SPHEIR programme represents an exciting leap forward for our 16 year-old Somaliland Partnership. We look forward to working closely with our Somaliland partners and friends to achieve systemic change for health education so that in the future King’s support is no longer needed.”

On the UK side of the partnership, there will be opportunities for hundreds of volunteer experts, educationalists, academics and clinicians mostly from King’s College London and King’s Health Partners, to design and deliver capacity building activities. Activities will be delivered online or via short-term trips allowing practicing UK professionals to contribute to global health work without disrupting their careers.

The programme will work at the individual, institutional and national levels. It will deliver an extensive programme of capacity building activities for students, faculty, examiners, clinical supervisors, university administrators and health system regulators. It will work with higher education and health policy makers to formulate new national standards for graduates.

Partners include Somaliland’s three leading health schools, responsible for the education of over 80 per cent of medical students and 25 per cent of nursing students nationwide. The programme will deliver 172 accredited courses online, 60 two-month clinical ward rotations, 60 exams, seven blended courses, four two-year accredited diploma cycles, and seven high-level stakeholder meetings. This will be co-delivered by hundreds of UK volunteer experts, who will donate an estimated 24,000 hours to the project.

For more information: King’s Somaliland Partnership is featured in King’s Strategic Vision 2029 video.

If you are interested in contributing to the Prepare for Practice programme, more information is available on the Centre for Global Health & Health Partnerships webpage.