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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Asia Pacific family medicine
Title Working toward decreasing infant mortality in developing countries through change in the medical curriculum
Author(s)
Volume 10
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 11
URL http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1447-056X-10-11.pdf
Abstract
Background: High infant and maternal mortality rates are one of the biggest health issues in Pakistan. Although these rates are given high priority at the national level (Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, respectively), there has been no significant decrease in them so far. We hypothesize that this lack of success is because the undergraduate curriculum in Pakistan does not match local needs. Currently, the Pakistani medical curriculum deals with issues in maternal and child morbidity and mortality according to Western textbooks. Moreover, these are taught disjointedly through various departments. We undertook curriculum revision to sensitize medical students to maternal and infant mortality issues important in the Pakistani context and educate them about ways to reduce the same through an integrated teaching approach. Methods: The major determinants of infant mortality in underdeveloped countries were identified through a literature review covering international research produced over the last 10 years and the Pakistan Demographic Health Survey 2006-07. An interdisciplinary maternal and child health module team was created by the Medical Education Department at Shifa College of Medicine. The curriculum was developed based on the role of identified determinants in infant and maternal mortality. It was delivered by an integrated team without any subject boundaries. Students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes were assessed by multiple modalities and the module itself by student feedback using questionnaires and focus group discussions. Results: Assessment and feedback demonstrated that the students had developed a thorough understanding of the complexity of factors that contribute to infant mortality. Students also demonstrated knowledge and skill in counseling, antenatal care, and care of newborns and infants. Conclusions: A carefully designed integrated curriculum can help sensitize undergraduate medical students and equip them to identify and address complex issues related to maternal and infant mortality in underdeveloped countries.

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