In January 2016 WFME took part in a workshop on preparing experts for accreditation of Postgraduate Medical Programmes in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The accreditation of Higher Education Institutions in Kazakhstan is carried out by the Independent Agency for Accreditation and Rating (IAAR) which was established in 2012 by the authority of the Ministry of Education and Science. The IAAR follows international practice in its approach to accreditation. Accreditation of basic medical education began in 2013 and is being rolled out to all medical schools.
In 2014, postgraduate medical education (PGME) was reorganised and residency programmes in 46 different specialities were set up. The Government and HEIs are also keen to develop PhD programmes in clinical disciplines which will conform to the ORPHEUS standards for PhDs. The IAAR wishes to undertake accreditation of all residency and PhD programmes. To that end, it organised a workshop for educators involved in PGME, and WFME was pleased to provide Professor Sam Leinster, Senior Adviser to WFME, to lead it.
The workshop was hosted by Dr.Farida Nurmanbetova, Vice-Rector at the Kazakhstan National Medical University, Almaty and was attended by around 75 experts in postgraduate medical education from medical schools across Kazakhstan.
Day 1 focused on the purpose and process of accreditation of residency programmes. Delegates worked in small groups to discuss the practicalities of applying the WFME Standards for PGME to residency programmes.
On Day 2 the focus shifted to PhD programmes and the ORPHEUS standards for PhDs. There was general agreement that current practice in Kazakhstan matched the ORPHEUS standards to a great extent. One area that did raise concerns was the requirement for international collaborations for PhD programmes. Medical schools that have successfully established such collaborations were able to share their experiences.
The delegates expressed satisfaction at being able to discuss the topics with colleagues from a range of institutions. They appreciated the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the WFME PGME and ORPHEUS standards. There was general agreement that application of these standards to residency and PhD programmes was feasible. The IAAR will continue working towards accrediting all areas of medical education and will continue to seek support for this process from WFME.
Why is this important?
The need and desirability of accrediting basic medical education is widely accepted: but medical education is a continuum, from admission to medical school to the day of retirement. We must ensure that standards of education, both in clinical practice and in research, are at the highest possible level throughout the career of a doctor. Kazakhstan is providing a powerful example.