Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Poster Board # P2-9

Monica C. Robotin, MBBS, (Hons), FRACS, MAppEpid, MIntH, MBA, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, Muthau Shaheem, BPolSc, MBA, Faculty of Health Sciences, Maldives National University, Male, Maldives and Aishath S. Ismail, BSc, (Hons), AppHNutrit, MPH, Maldives National University, Male, Maldives
Purpose:  Over the last decades and despite multiple challenges, the public health system in the Maldives has achieved substantial improvements, reflected in improved child and maternal mortality indicators and the control of many communicable diseases of public health importance. However, these health gains are gradually being undermined by the effects of epidemiological transition, requiring new public health skills for its health care practitioners. In this context the Faculty of Health Sciences is developing the country’s first Master of Public Health (MPH) program, taking into account the country’s health profile and needs.

Method:  Following the identification of key stakeholder groups, a wide consultation process defined local MPH teaching needs and available expertise for subject development and teaching, appraised available evidence from other MPH curricula from different world regions and sought agreement on key deliverables for a Maldivian MPH program. The recommendations of semi-structured interviews conducted with key stakeholders informed a nominal group process, which sought agreement on overall course structure. The process was finalized through an online Delphi process, inviting participants to rank subjects according to local public health priorities, available resources to develop resources and deliver teaching and addressing core competencies for MPH graduates.

Result: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 internal and external stakeholders from the Maldives National University, the Ministry of Health, the Health Protection Agency and the World Health Organization (WHO), exploring issues related to specific training needs, competencies, program sustainability and training models. Recommendations informed a nominal group process attended by 11 representatives from the Faculty of Health Sciences, MPH graduates, prospective students and representatives from the International Center for Environment, Development and Operational Research (ENDEVOUR) and WHO. Small group work generated 19 recommendations for core and 35 for elective subjects. Workshop participants agreed on the 6 core subjects and consolidated the 35 proposed elective subjects into 17 topics. These were prioritized through a modified online Delphi process. Eleven participants took part in this process which reached consensus on 8 subjects that best meet local needs and for which teaching expertise is locally available.

Conclusion:  Consensus methods allowed the engagement of diverse key stakeholders into the curriculum development process, ensuring local buy-in and support of the MPH course, scheduled to commence in January 2014.