SHARING AN INTERNATIONAL CURRICULUM FOR FAMILY MEDICINE: HOW MUCH IS GENERIC?

Author(s): 
C STARKEY 1,V WASS 1, DIXON H 1, P MILNE, F KAHN.
1 Royal College of General Practitioners, UK
Text: 
BACKGROUND: The Royal College of Physicians (RCGP) UK developed an international membership examination MRCGP [lnt] because of concerns that the examination's British context disadvantaged overseas candidates. MRCGP [Int] addresses global differences by developing curricula and assessments within the local context. International Development Advisers (IDAs) support each locality. As individual MRCGP [lnt] exams are established. it remains unclear to what extent Family Medicine knowledge can be shared. AIM: To compare performance on shared items in MRCGP [lnt] knowledge tests in South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and South East Asia (Brunei).
METHOD: Brunei and the S Asia group independently developed multiple choice tests of applied knowledge (200 items) based on of single best answer and extended matching questions. Question writing was done in local workshops supported by IDA's (CS (Brunei) and VW (S Asia)) with further expertise from experienced question writers (HD, PM). Both examinations used WHO guidelines and the British National Formulary as references. 25 questions from each group were shared between two tests in 2006.
RESULTS: There were 219 candidates in S Asia and 11 in SE Asia. Direct statistical comparison was not performed because of disparity between candidate numbers. Practical difficulties between the two regions were found: guideline standards were debated, disease incidence varied, social contexts were different and drug availability caused concern.
CONCLUSION: Practical difficulties sharing knowledge questions within Asia confirm that local question writing merits the work involved. Collaboration is feasible but requires attention to detail and local modification.