ecancermedicalscience

Review

Oncology training and education initiatives in low and middle income countries: a scoping review

30 Sep 2021
Safiya Karim, Zahra Sunderji, Matthew Jalink, Sahar Mohamed, Indranil Mallick, Susan Citonje Msadabwe-Chikuni, Nancy J Delgarno, Nazik Hammad, Scott Berry

Background: The global cancer burden falls disproportionately on low and middle-income countries (LMICs). One significant barrier to adequate cancer control in these countries is the lack of an adequately trained oncology workforce. Oncology education and training initiatives are a critical component of building the workforce. We performed a scoping review of published training and education initiatives for health professionals in LMICs to understand the strategies used to train the global oncology workforce.

Methods: We searched Ovid MEDLINE and Embase from database inception (1947) to 4 March 2020. Articles were eligible if they described an oncology medical education initiative (with a clear intervention and outcome) within an LMIC. Articles were classified based on the target population, the level of medical education, degree of collaboration with another institution and if there was an e-learning component to the intervention.

Findings: Of the 806 articles screened, 25 met criteria and were eligible for analysis. The majority of initiatives were targeted towards physicians and focused on continuing medical education. Almost all the initiatives were done in partnership with a collaborating organisation from a high-income country. Only one article described the impact of the initiative on patient outcomes. Less than half of the initiatives involved e-learning.

Conclusions: There is a paucity of oncology training and education initiatives in LMICs published in English. Initiatives for non-physicians, efforts to foster collaboration within and between LMICs, knowledge sharing initiatives and studies that measure the impact of these initiatives on developing an effective workforce are highly recommended.

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