Short Report Mali Faculty of Medicine

Site Visitors:

From the Advisory Committee: Prof. Gottleib Lobe Monekosso and Prof. Mohenou Isidore Jean-Marie Diomande. 

Advisory Committee host: Prof. Abdel Karim Koumare.

From the Secretariat: Prof. Fitzhugh Mullan, Prof. Seble Frehywot, and Prof. Candice Chen.

The site visit team meets with a group of medical students

Mali is a West African Francophone nation of 12.5 million people whose economic and health outcome indicators are among the most problematic in the world.  Mali has one medical school, the University of Bamako which opened originally in 1968 and has about ten physicians per 100,000 in the country. 

Professors Frehywot, Monekosso, and Mullan observe the herb library.

The College of Medicine follows the French tradition of direct admission and numerus clausus. This means that any student wanting to study medicine is admitted to the first year class (2000 this year), but only 300 (based on competitive examination) proceed to the second year. 

A lecture hall with nearly 2000 first-year students

Professor Koumare designed and manned an excellent schedule for the site visit team, which included visits with the dean of the medical school, faculty leaders, key officials at the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, as well as the national physician regulatory body.  The site visit team had a visit and campus tour provided by representatives of the medical student body.

A collection of graduated students' theses

Mali has a well-developed system of non-governmental community health centers, and the team had an opportunity to visit one such center and with the organization representing the community health center movement nationally.

Women wait to receive care at a community health center

The college of medicine is home to several impressive research programs in areas such as malaria, parasitic diseases, and HIV/AIDS. In addition to producing important research knowledge, the center provides opportunities for career development for faculty, and the site visit team was impressed that they had a role to play in national capacity development and retention.

Equipment in a Malian research lab

Another example of Mali’s thoughtful investment in future medical school faculty is the creation of the Institut Africain de Formation en Pedagogie-Recherche-Evaluation en Science de la Santé (African Institute of Teaching in Pedagogy-Research-Evaluation in the Health Sciences).  The Institute teaches students and young faculty (at the associate professor level) skills needed to be successful future researchers and trains associate professors in pedagogy skills, including video feedback of teaching skills.  Initial follow-up shows the pass rate for the examination to become a full professor is 80% for those who participate in the pedagogy course compared to only 50% for those who do not.  The courses are open to Malian as well as non-Malian physicians.

Professor Koumare stands outside the African Institute of Teaching in
Pedagogy-Research-Evaluation in the Health Sciences

The team was also impressed with the strong commitment of Malian physicians to practice in Mali even when they have gone abroad for postgraduate training. New postgraduate training positions in specialties were also felt to be important elements of an emerging physician retention program in the country.

Medical students study in the library at the University of Bamako

Challenges noted included insufficient employment opportunities for all medical graduates, insufficient incentives to recruit graduates for placements in peripheral communities, and long-term coordination between the Ministries of Health and Education around medical workforce development.

A dorm room which ten medical students share

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