Evaluation of a competency based medical curriculum in a Sub-Saharan African medical school

Jane McKenzie-White, Aloysius G. Mubuuke, Sara Westergaard, Ian G. Munabi, Robert C. Bollinger, Robert Opoka, Scovia Mbalinda, David Katete, Yukari Manabe, Sarah Kiguli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Medical schools in Sub-Saharan Africa have adopted competency based medical education (CBME) to improve the quality of graduates trained. In 2015, Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MaKCHS) implemented CBME for the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) programme in order to produce doctors with the required attributes to address community health needs. However, no formal evaluation of the curriculum has been conducted to determine whether all established competencies are being assessed.

Objectives: To evaluate whether assessment methods within the MBChB curriculum address the stated competencies.

Methods: The evaluation adopted a cross-sectional study design in which the MBChB curriculum was evaluated using an Essential Course Evidence Form (ECEF) that was developed to collect information about each assessment used for each course. Information was collected on: (1) Assessment title, (2) Description, (3) Competency domain (4) Sub-competency addressed, (5) Student instructions, and (6) Grading method/details. Data were entered into a structured Access data base. In addition, face-to-face interviews were conducted with faculty course coordinators.

Results: The MBChB curriculum consisted of 62 courses over 5 years, focusing on preclinical skills in years 1–2 and clinical skills in years 3–5. Fifty-nine competencies were identified and aggregated into 9 domains. Fifty-eight competencies were assessed at least one time in the curriculum. Faculty cited limited training in assessment as well as large student numbers as hindrances to designing robust assessments for the competencies.

Conclusion: CBME was successfully implemented evidenced by all but one of the 59 competencies within the nine domains established being assessed within the MBChB curriculum at MaKCHS. Faculty interviewed were largely aware of it, however indicated the need for more training in competency-based assessment to improve the implementation of CBME.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health, East Africa
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

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