There is a shortage of well-trained doctors in Africa. According to the most recent research from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the sub-Saharan African (SSA) population has around one doctor per 5,000 people. This compares to the EU average of 19.5 doctors per 5,000 people. On average there are 20 times the number of doctors in Europe than in SSA and this shortage is causing daily suffering and needless loss of life.
This is a cause the RCP is passionate about. Through the Physicians for Africa project, we have partnered with the East, Central and Southern African College of Physicians (ESCACoP) in Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
We support this cause through several initiatives which involve our venue and food offering. Thanks to our partnership with CH&Co., we have created a bespoke plant-based menu for delegates that helps us to raise the money necessary to support Physicians for Africa.
Our plant-based menu in support of Physicians for Africa
We have worked in collaboration with our trusted catering partner at CH&Co. to create a bespoke menu that will nourish your delegates while supporting the Physicians for Africa project.
The menu is plant-based and vegetarian, and contains common foods regularly eaten in the East, Central and Southern Africa regions, such as bunny chow, jollof tomato rice and Dora Wat. To allow delegates to interact with the chefs that prepare this amazing food selection and find out more about the culinary traditions of Africa, the Physicians for Africa menu is part of our food stall offer.
We are committed to donating 50p per person for every Physicians for Africa food stall, actively supporting the cause while celebrating the food culture of the areas most affected by the shortage of doctors.
The RCP’s role in Physicians for Africa
In 2013, sub-Saharan Africa had a deficit of an estimated 1.8 million health workers and this deficit is projected to rise to 4.3 million by 2035 according to the WHO. There are a number of reasons for the shortfall, including a lack of funding for education and training, international migration and career changes among health workers, illness, premature retirement, and even premature deaths.
The lack of funding and education is clear from the statistics. There are currently only around 170 medical schools serving the 47 countries of sub-Saharan Africa and in six of those countries there are no medical schools at all. Even where health workers are available, facilities can be short-staffed, with poor continuing-education training and few opportunities for professional development.
Through the Physicians for Africa project, the RCP provides advice on governance; training expertise; and initial funding so that the new College can achieve its ambition to double the output of physicians being trained in this region by 2030. Moreover, we provide the training necessary for individuals on the African continent to fulfil their educational potential and benefit their communities and nation.
The project so far
The Physicians for Africa project started in 2015 and ECSACoP now has new training centres in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition to following a training curriculum developed by leading physicians from East, Central and Southern Africa for the region's specific health challenges, the new cadre of physicians trained is better equipped to lead, manage and steward the vital resources that can dramatically improve health outcomes for all, especially those in remote or difficult-to-reach communities.
Increasing the number of physicians, and transforming their education at the same time, has the potential to accelerate health equity and inclusive economic growth. ECSACoP itself is designed to become self-sustaining after a number of years. Once well established, examinations, courses and workshops will become income generators for the college, allowing its council to reinvest in scholarships for additional trainees.
ECSACoP's focus on equipping physicians with the skills to become effective teachers and leaders, as much as effective clinicians, will radically improve the management of health systems in the region. The project will harmonise standards across the region and positively impact 200 million lives.
Thank you to all the event organisers that have supported the project so far by purchasing our Physicians for Africa plant-based menus for delegates. If you would like to support the project by offering a unique food experience to your event guests, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us your enquiry.