Family Medicine Specialty Training Program
Lesotho Ministry of Health in conjunction the Lesotho Boston Health Alliance (LeBoHA) with faculty from the Department of Family Medicine from Boston University, USA and the University of the Free State Republic of South Africa.
The Family Medicine Specialty Training Program was created to strengthen health services in Lesotho. Lesotho faces many health challenges, including the highest prevalence of TB and the second highest HIV globally. At the same time the country suffers from an extreme shortage of physicians, as there are less than 40 Basotho doctors practicing in Lesotho, with a large majority of these physicians located in Maseru.
The purpose of the Lesotho Family Medicine Specialty Training Program (FMSTP) is therefore to increase the number of well-trained physicians in the country who have the knowledge, skills and commitment to meet the health needs of the people of Lesotho, with special attention to the clinical and management skills which are required in government district hospitals.
Today the FMSTP focuses on 4 pillars; Clinical Family Medicine, Community Orientated Primary Care, District Health Management, and Operational Health Systems Research. The program can accept 4-6 new registrars per year.
The program runs over a period of four years. We accept Basotho doctors after they have completed internship and who intend to stay in Lesotho long term. Family Medicine students are assigned to each of the 10 district of the country. They travel to Motebang Hospital, the northern referral hospital in the Leribe District and the main teaching site of the program once a month for a week-long “contact session” organized by the FMSTP faculty. The three Faculty members also visit the districts for supervision visits on a quarterly schedule.
The first two of the four years focus intensely on introduction to concepts of Family Medicine and patient centered care, and basics of district health management. The third and fourth years have a greater focus on Community Orientated Primary Care (COPC) with a supervised project. In addition they do clinical rotations and attend quarterly contact sessions in Leribe. During their training registrars conduct a relevant Operational Health Systems Research Project.
The FMSP is the first and only physician specialty training program in Lesotho and the only medical higher education program in the country. The FMSTP has received a full 5 year accreditation by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) of Lesotho (in December 2015). This came following a rigorous 3-year accreditation probation period during which the program further developed and transformed its curriculum and policies to ensure compliance with the Lesotho higher education quality assurance processes.
Based upon the new Lesotho Quality Framework for Higher Education, LeBoHA as a fully accredited higher education institution has been designated as a degree granting institution. Beginning in 2020, graduates of the FMSTP will receive a Masters of Medicine in Family Medicine (MMedFam) degree.
FMSTP faculty also now conducts training workshops for faculty development for Lesotho physicians to help them update and improve teaching skills.
The specialty training program operates in an academic partnership with the Lesotho Ministry of
Health, the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, Maluti Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Mapoteng, the Consortium of New Medical Schools in Southern Africa (CONSAMS), the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA), the Primafamed Conference for Africa with Ghent University in Belgium, and the Wales Royal College of General Practitioners. Our academic network is rapidly expanding in a digitally supported environment.
In 2019, LeBoHA partnered with the Lesotho Ministry of Health to manage the new national internship program which is now underway.
Updated October 2019