Revalidation: a view from Africa

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 08 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:583
  1. Andrew R Potter, ophthalmologist
  1. Parakou, Republic of Benin

    Sooner or later, if I want to remain licensed to practise medicine in the United Kingdom, I must undergo the revalidation process. As my practice in sub-Saharan tropical Africa is different from that of my UK colleagues, I wonder whether the criteria for revalidation will be identical.

    I work in a charity hospital without mains electricity or water, 15 km outside the large northern town of Parakou in temperatures ranging from 26°C to 40°C. Our diesel generator allows us to enjoy cool air only in the operating theatre. In the outpatients area I sweat, along with everyone else. An unrelentingly hot, humid working environment is not conducive to the General Medical Council's ideal of constant politeness and in-depth discussions of treatment options with my patients.

    Our target population is the rural community of farmers and cattle herders, most of whom exist in grinding poverty. They still live in houses of mud and wattle with thatched roofs. Their lives are dominated by the agricultural seasons: hoeing, sowing, weeding, and harvesting. Most do …

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