Process evaluation of paediatric fellowship training programs at a University Hospital in Pakistan

Sana Saeed, Prem Chand, Asna Sulaiman, Imran Nisar, Khadija Nuzhat Humayun, Marib Ghulam Rasool Malik, Fyezah Jehan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Fellowship programs offer training in a subspecialty focusing on distinct and advanced clinical/academic skills. This advanced postgraduate training allows physicians, who desire a more specialized practice, to further develop clinical, academic, research, and leadership/administrative skills. The Aga Khan University (AKU) is one of the few institutes offering paediatric sub-specialty training in Pakistan. We aimed to evaluate the current Paediatric fellowship programs at AKU. Methods: Process evaluation of six paediatric fellowship programs (cardiology, neurology, endocrinology, critical care medicine, neonatology, and infectious disease) was conducted from September 2020 to April 2021 by senior clinicians and medical educationists. Evidence was collected through document review (using existing postgraduate medical education program information form), observation of teaching and learning support, and focused group discussions/interviews with program faculty and fellows were conducted. A review of the evaluation report was done as part of this study. This study received an exemption from the ethical review committee. The quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS (22.0) while the reports of discussion with fellows and friends underwent content analysis. Results: All fellowship programs met the criteria for having a robust competency-based fellowship curriculum as per the institutional and national guidelines. Formative assessment in the form of continuous evaluation was found to be integrated into all the fellowship programs, however, most of the programs were found to lack a summative assessment plan. Fellows in training and program faculty were satisfied with the opportunities for mentorship, teaching, and learning. Thematic analysis of the discussion reports with faculty and fellows revealed three key themes including, program aspects translating into strengthening the training, gaps in the training program in delivering the expectations, and making ways to reach par excellence. Conclusions: The process evaluation of paediatric fellowship programs provided an opportunity to holistically review the current strengths and quality of the training in individual programs along with the unmet needs of the trainees. This will help the program stakeholders to prioritize, align and allocate the resources to further enhance the quality of training and outcome of individual fellowship programs to ensure wider impacts at a regional, national, and international health system level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number612
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Fellowship programs
  • Program evaluation
  • Quality
  • Training programs


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