It has been eight years since ITM entered into a close partnership with the Tropical Infectious Disease Center at B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Nepal to organise a yearly "Short-term Training in Tropical and Infectious Diseases” (STITID).
Each year about 15 medical doctors, mostly working for the Ministry of Health of Nepal in primary health care settings, are selected to participate in this five-week training session on common tropical and infectious diseases. Assisted by an international panel of teachers - including ITM staff - the participants learn about state of the art disease control strategies in Nepal, about how to minimise errors in clinical decision making and they are trained on evidence-based practice. So far 128 medical doctors have undergone this training and have been keeping in touch since through a networking loop, which also provides a platform for small research activities. For example, there are currently two ongoing randomised control trials, one on antibiotic-based treatment of acute lower respiratory tract infections in district hospitals and another on treatment of undifferentiated fever in the mountains and hills of Nepal.
The financial and educational partnership between B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences with ITM (under the Framework Agreement with the Belgian Directorate-General for Development) has contributed greatly to this high quality training and should translate into better primary care to patients all over Nepal. To achieve that, the course team has begun to explore further options for distance learning and telemedicine, both with the ITM team and with the University of Geneva. The ITM team (including Marleen Boelaert, Marjan Pirard, Johan Van Griensven, Jef Van den Ende, and Bart Ostyn among others) hopes to continue this fruitful educational collaboration for many years to come.
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