Medical education and training: Responding to community needs

Fauziah Rabbani, Babar T. Shaikh, Qamar Mahmood, Kausar S. Khan, Syed Muhammar Israr, Yousuf Memon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


At its inception in 1987, the Aga Khan University introduced the idea of community-based medical education in Pakistan, at a time when this model was being introduced and adapted internationally. Human resource development has been a major objective in the Department of Community Health Sciences (CHS). CHS has contributed to developing a medical curriculum that addresses the health needs of the community at large. This paper narrates the department's experience in working directly with under-served communities, leading to the development of specialized courses and degree programs. CHS emphasizes operational research and development of managerial skills among front-line public health professionals, in both the public and private sectors. Training is provided by people from diverse backgrounds, such as public health, community development, social sciences, law, epidemiology, economy, biostatistics, demography, theater, and film. The lessons we have learned show that the mode of training depends on the overall objectives of the program, the clients and the setting. However, in the spirit of the participatory approach, the recipients of the training must be involved during all stages so as to ensure the sustainability of the training program. Training must focus on the communities at the grass roots level or community based organizations, where the communities identify their own capacity and needs. Wide dissemination of training materials, courses and manuals is also useful to replicate successful experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)SR21-SR25
JournalMedical Science Monitor
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • Community based teaching
  • Medical education
  • Pakistan
  • Primary health
  • Public health approach
  • Research and training


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