Developing a curriculum for anaesthesia training in low- and middle-income countries

Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2012 Mar;26(1):17-21. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2012.02.004.


The shortage of healthcare providers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is well documented and is manifested by a profound lack of anaesthesia providers, especially throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. The need to develop and support training programs for physician and non-physician anesthetists in LMICs is therefore paramount to providing safe and cost effective anaesthesia care. Development of these training programs is multifaceted and must take into account the specific needs of the recipient country in order to be successful. Curriculum development should be directed towards sustainable change, ultimately reducing the need for outside support. To ensure viability as the new program develops, graduates need to be assimilated into the program as leaders. Emphasis needs to be placed on lessons learnt, professional conduct, and improving outcomes. Anaesthesia educational programs must emphasize quality, safety and professionalism in the providers and the care they deliver. Region-specific teaching methods should be developed using problem-based learning techniques and presenting data in a way that educates rather than castigates. There are good examples of programs that have been implemented to support education in LMICs. However, there are only a few that have successfully adopted a holistic approach to the entire curriculum. More often than not, programs have focused on specific areas of expertise of visiting teachers, rather than the needs of the recipient program. Because of the limited data available, it remains difficult to define any one clear path to achieving these goals. A combination of coordination and collaboration will increase the efficacy of implementing new or upgrading existing programs and will allow clearly defined paths to be defined in the future.

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Anesthesiology / education*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Curriculum*
  • Developing Countries
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Humans
  • Nurse Anesthetists / education
  • Program Development
  • Workforce