A USAID-supported one-day “Curriculum Consensus Workshop” challenged participants to define the attributes and processes that will culminate with an internationally respected curriculum for an Afghan Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree. The workshop involved representatives from the Ministry of Higher Education, USAID, Kabul Medical University (KMU), lecturers in public health, Jhpiego, WHO, and international experts in curriculum development and public health. The facilitated discussions were at times lively as one Afghan senior lecturer, striving to be heard over other voices, shouted, “This curriculum,” while waving the book that defines medical education curriculum in Afghanistan, “should be tossed in the trash! We are here to discuss how we can better prepare teaching for our students so that they really learn something!”
The workshop, held on July 26 at KMU, included presentations and participative group work facilitated by the Higher Education Project (HEP) medical education staff. Curricular reform in medical education, clinical skills training, and public health can prepare Afghan doctors to better attend to the country’s urgent health needs. Health statistics have improved since 2001 thanks in great part to the significant investment of many millions of dollars by the American people, through USAID and other donors.
At the end of the workshop, participants were in agreement regarding the look and feel of a curriculum, and the processes involved in developing the courses and content. As Dr. Yosoufpur, a KMU senior professor stated, “I hope that we will be able to implement the solid thinking that we discussed.” All of the participants agreed that development of a robust MPH curriculum will take a long time and that now the hard work will begin.