Using an ePlatform to meet the demand for continuous professional development – perspectives from medical association of Tanzania

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The Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) defines Continuous professional development (CPD) as the systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge, skills and competencies, and the development of personal qualities necessary for execution of professional and clinical/practical duties throughout the individual’s working life outside the formal undergraduate and postgraduate training

CPD in Tanzania

CPD is currently carried out in Tanzania through conferences, symposia, workshops, clinical meetings, short courses, etc, but it is not formalized. This is set to change however. The process of developing CPD guidelines began in 2012, and are currently in their second edition, as the  Medical and Dental Practitioners Bill 2014, and expected to be formalized, mandated and backed up by state laws in 2015. According to the guidelines, biannual license renewal will be linked to attainment of 40 CPD points.

Types of MAT Credit

Credits will be grouped in 4 categories:

—External Credit –  “external” to the hospital /place of work. Credits may be gained by attending events involving  “external” speakers,  e.g. conferences, symposia, refresher courses, short courses, workshops, seminars or similar events

—Internal Credit –  “internal” to a hospital. This mostly involves “internal” speakers, and usually involves “internal” employees and staff rather than outside guests, e.g. breakfast meetings, presentations or journal clubs, formally arranged hospital or inter-departmental meetings or updates, case study discussions, formally organized special purpose teaching/learning ward rounds (not including the routine daily ward rounds and teaching ward rounds) mentoring and supervision activities that are specific to certain professions e.g. psychology, formally organized special purpose lectures that are not part of a business meeting, formal confidential peer review of medical records

—Personal Credit – self-directed learning, e.g. reading medical or dental literature, completing internet-based learning  (E-platform), co-author/author of a peer reviewed publication or chapter in a book

—Exemption Credit – Reasons not to report CPD credit, e.g. —enrollment in a postgraduate degree and diploma program that is related to health, enrolled in a Certificate of Added Qualification program recognized by MAT/Medical Council of Tanganyika (MCT), prolonged, disabling illness

Use of an e-Platform in Tanzania

Beyond the very obvious advantage of allowing members to access CPD for points linked to licensing, MAT believes the proposed e-Platform will make an important contribution to reducing the sense of isolation felt by many members in rural areas by establishing a virtual supportive network to build resilience and support retention in difficult work environments.

Promoting the e-Platform to our members

We believe the e-Platform will be useful for our members and we will promote it through our conferences and workshops. We will develop an internship program to teach doctors how to use the platform – to build digital literacy skills and to ensure members know how to benefit fully from a virtual professional learning communtiy. We will engage medical doctors in other e-groups to use the e-Platform, promoting it through our Facebook and other social media channels and on the MAT website.

Some questions

What do you think will motivate doctors (and other healthworkers) to use the ePlatform for CPD courses?

Do you believe healthworkers have the necessary skills to undertake eLearning courses – what will it take to support them to gain the required skills? 

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