Challenges for implementing WFME standards for accreditation in health professions education in low and middle-income countries: A scoping review

J Pak Med Assoc. 2021 Mar;71(3):966-976. doi: 10.47391/JPMA.795.


Objective: The accreditation standards developed by the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) are acknowledged as regulatory mechanism for quality assurance of medical education programmes. The scoping review was planned to collect all the literature for identification of the barriers affecting the implementation of quality curriculum defined by WFME.

Methods: The literature was searched in electronic databases for relevant peer-reviewed studies over the last ten years. The search terms used were, `challenges of WFME accreditation', `barriers to accreditation', `challenges to accreditation in healthcare system', `hindrances to WFME accreditation standards', and `barriers to WFME standards', in PubMed, ERIC, PsycINFO databases, and in Google Scholar for grey literature. After screening and assessing for eligibility, 922 publications were retrieved and only 19 articles were included in study. The QualSyst appraisal tool was used to appraise the quality of studies. Data was synthsized to present the findings.

Results: The themes identified after data synthesis broadly described the barriers to implementation in various domains of WFME standards. The themes were social and political support, process of curriculum development, involvement of students in curricular planning, organizational setup, infrastructure, technical issues/ management of curriculum. The social and political support referred to leadership and governance, a prime barrier to address. Similarly, organizational setup, infrastructure and technical issues should also be looked for apart from students and curriculum.

Conclusions: The scoping review will inform and lay the foundation for more empirical studies on quality improvement in health professional education, particularly in low and middle-income countries.

Keywords: Challenges of accreditation, Barriers to accreditation, WFME standards, Challenges of quality curriculum implementation..

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation
  • Curriculum
  • Developing Countries*
  • Education, Medical*
  • Health Occupations
  • Humans