Challenges and innovations brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic regarding medical and pharmacy education especially in Africa and implications for the future

Etando, Ayukafangha and Amu, Adefolarin A. and Haque, Mainul and Schellack, Natalie and Kurdi, Amanj and Alrasheedy, Alian A. and Timoney, Angela and Mwita, Julius C. and Rwegerera, Godfrey Mutashambara and Patrick, Okwen and Lum Niba, Loveline and Boahen-Boaten, Baffour Boaten and Tabi, Felicity Besong and Amu, Olufunke Y and Acolatse, Joseph and Incoom, Robert and Sefah, Israel Abebrese and Guantai, Anastasia Nkatha and Opanga, Sylvia and Chikowe, Ibrahim and Khuluza, Felix and Kibuule, Dan and Kalemeera, Francis and Hango, Ester and Lates, Jennie and Fadare, Joseph and Ogunleye, Olayinka O. and Saleem, Zikria and Oosthuizen, Frasia and Cordier, Werner and Matlala, Moliehi and Meyer, Johanna C. and Schellack, Gustav and Massele, Amose and Malande, Oliver Ombeva and Kalungia, Aubrey Chichonyi and Sichone, James and Banda, Sekelani S. and Zaranyika, Trust and Campbell, Stephen and Godman, Brian (2021) Challenges and innovations brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic regarding medical and pharmacy education especially in Africa and implications for the future. Healthcare, 9 (12). 1722. ISSN 2227-9032 (

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Background: Multiple measures introduced early to restrict COVID-19 have dramatically impacted the teaching of medical and pharmacy students, exacerbated by the lack of infrastructure and experience with e-learning at the start of the pandemic. In addition, the costs and reliability of the Internet across Africa pose challenges alongside undertaking clinical teaching and practical programmes. Consequently, there is a need to understand the many challenges and how these were addressed, given increasingly complex patients, to provide future direction. Method: An exploratory study was conducted among senior-level medical and pharmacy educators across Africa, addressing four key questions, including the challenges resulting from the pandemic and how these were dealt with. Results: Staff and student members faced multiple challenges initially, including adapting to online learning. In addition, concerns with the lack of equipment (especially among disadvantaged students), the costs of Internet bundles, and how to conduct practicals and clinical teaching. Multiple activities were undertaken to address these challenges. These included training sessions, developing innovative approaches to teaching, and seeking ways to reduce Internet costs. Robust approaches to practicals, clinical teaching, and assessments have been developed. Conclusions: Appreciable difficulties to teaching arising from the pandemic are being addressed across Africa. Research is ongoing to improve education and assessments.


Etando, Ayukafangha, Amu, Adefolarin A., Haque, Mainul, Schellack, Natalie, Kurdi, Amanj ORCID logoORCID:, Alrasheedy, Alian A., Timoney, Angela, Mwita, Julius C., Rwegerera, Godfrey Mutashambara, Patrick, Okwen, Lum Niba, Loveline, Boahen-Boaten, Baffour Boaten, Tabi, Felicity Besong, Amu, Olufunke Y, Acolatse, Joseph, Incoom, Robert, Sefah, Israel Abebrese, Guantai, Anastasia Nkatha, Opanga, Sylvia, Chikowe, Ibrahim, Khuluza, Felix, Kibuule, Dan, Kalemeera, Francis, Hango, Ester, Lates, Jennie, Fadare, Joseph, Ogunleye, Olayinka O., Saleem, Zikria, Oosthuizen, Frasia, Cordier, Werner, Matlala, Moliehi, Meyer, Johanna C., Schellack, Gustav, Massele, Amose, Malande, Oliver Ombeva, Kalungia, Aubrey Chichonyi, Sichone, James, Banda, Sekelani S., Zaranyika, Trust, Campbell, Stephen and Godman, Brian;