URC’s Better Health Services Project Revitalizes Continuing Medical Education in Cambodia

Innovative learning methodologies introduced by URC's Better Health Services (BHS) project in Cambodia are reviving health care workers' interest in continuing medical education (CME). As BHS introduces team-based learning (TBL) in select hospitals, hospital staff are providing positive feedback about this participatory methodology, an important change from the customary, lecture-based approaches to learning used to date in Cambodia. 

BHS's structured TBL approach helps learners work together to reach a better understanding of a CME topic. It involves small-group discussion and learning, videos of actual hospital cases, and practical work. The project enables health care workers to practice basic skills and tries to make the learning experience fun and lively, with interesting videos and written materials that are retained by staff. Technical assistance for implementing TBL is provided by Duke-National University of Singapore, a collaboration between that university and Duke University in North Carolina.

Improvements to the CME system are part of the support BHS provides to the fledgling Medical Council of Cambodia (MCC). BHS has assisted MCC in establishing national and provincial offices, training staff, developing a database for physician registration, and drafting rules and regulations for physicians. As regional, hospital-based, and online CME become standardized, BHS will work with MCC to track each registered physician's CME. Minimum standards will be set, with physicians required to participate in a certain amount of CME in order to re-register, which the Ministry of Health will require every three years. 

The five-year BHS project, which is funded by the US Agency for International Development, works with the Ministry of Health and other partners to increase demand for and equitable access to quality health services. The project is building the capacity of public and private service delivery systems; expanding models for health financing; improving the quality and impact of maternal, neonatal, and child health services; and strengthening the control of infectious diseases. BHS builds on the work of the USAID Health Systems Strengthening in Cambodia Project, which URC managed from 2002 to 2008.

A staff member at Angkor Chum Referral Hospital practices performing an abdominal exam during CME.
A staff member at Angkor Chum Referral Hospital practices performing an abdominal exam during CME.
April 25, 2012
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