Proposal for the implementation of physician assistants in Uganda
Milos, Joseph John
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Non-communicable diseases are on the rise throughout Uganda and the management of four chronic disease states -- hypertension, diabetes, breast cancer, and prostate cancer -- have shown to be inadequate. This gap in chronic disease care leaves room for an educational intervention in the training of medical professionals and the implementation of a novel workforce. Similar to the model seen in the United States, this research aims to create a cohort of physician assistant students at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda. Physician assistants in the United States provide medical care in many ways, including primary care where chronic diseases can be managed. The cohort of physician assistant students in this study will be trained alongside their medical student counterparts, however, their curriculum will focus on the management of chronic disease. This will be accomplished through shortening and restructuring the didactic and clinical medical school curriculum such that a greater focus is on the management of chronic conditions. Physician assistant and medical students in this study will be assessed for both knowledge and clinical skills gained over the course of their training regarding the management of the four chronic disease states noted above. Knowledge of chronic disease states will be tested with the administration of pre- and post- examinations at the orientation of their medical training and after their completion, respectively. Further, all students will be assessed for their views and will self-evaluate their skills regarding interprofessional collaboration at the orientation of their medical training and after their completion. This study aims to demonstrate how a novel workforce of trained clinicians, known as physician assistants, can display competency in the management of chronic conditions as means to aid a growing healthcare concern throughout Uganda. A secondary outcome being examined in this study is how training these future clinicians together with medical students will improve their views on interprofessional collaboration as means to provide optimal care to patients and enhanced interconnectedness between clinicians in Uganda.