Rheumatology capacity building: implementing a rheumatology curriculum for Liberian health-care providers in 2016

Clin Rheumatol. 2020 Mar;39(3):689-696. doi: 10.1007/s10067-019-04817-6. Epub 2020 Jan 20.


Introduction: Liberia has no rheumatology providers for the nation's 4.7 million people. We proposed a short course format rheumatology curriculum to educate Liberian providers as an initial step in providing graduate medical education in musculoskeletal health.

Method: A 1-week training curriculum in rheumatology encompassing introduction to musculoskeletal exam and approach to rheumatology diagnosis and management was designed. The curriculum used multiple education methods including interactive lectures, bedside training, and hands-on learning.

Results: A 1-week rheumatology training curriculum for 24 local physicians was feasible. The execution of the designed rheumatology curriculum in Liberia relied upon a mixed method format that was both didactic and case-based. A survey of the Liberian trainees revealed that the curriculum was salient to care of patients and barriers to optimal learning such as time and space limitations were identified.

Conclusions: A 1-week rheumatology training education program is possible and relevant to local providers, but training length and setting may need to be optimized. Future training will aim to minimize barriers to education and expand the cohort of providers with rheumatologic knowledge in Liberia.Key Points• Liberia, like many nations in sub-Saharan Africa, has no trained rheumatologists to serve the nation's population.• Education and capacity building for rheumatologic care in short course format are relevant and feasible to local health-care providers.• Further efforts are needed to develop and evaluate continuing rheumatology education in Liberia.

Keywords: Africa; Education; Global health; Rheumatology.

MeSH terms

  • Capacity Building / methods*
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods
  • Humans
  • Liberia
  • Rheumatologists / supply & distribution*
  • Rheumatology / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires