By Atieno Mboya (ScienceAfrica Correspondent)

The Aga Khan University’s Medical College in East Africa will tomorrow start offering one of the most recognised membership and speciality examinations for medical professionals, seeking to become specialists in various medical fields.

This follows the approval of Aga Khan University by the Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom, MRCP (UK), as the only centre that will offer MRCP(UK) Parts 1 and 2 Written examinations, and a practical clinical exam known as the Practical Assessment of Clinical Examination Skills (PACES) in sub-Saharan Africa.

The new PACES centre will be the 25th international centre in the world and eliminates the need for doctors specialising in internal medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa to have to travel to the United Kingdom to take the examinations.

“The approval of Aga Khan University as the only MRCP(UK) Part 2 Clinical  Examination (PACES) centre in Sub-Saharan Africa attests to the high quality of faculty and of the residency programmes at the Medical College in East Africa. It is consistent with our aspiration to continue attracting the best candidates to our residency programme,” said Professor Robert Armstrong, the Dean at AKU’s Medical College in East Africa.

The first cohort of 15 postgraduate doctors from the region will sit the Part 1 Written examination tomorrow at the Aga Khan University’s Medical College in East Africa, while the MRCP(UK) Part 2 Clinical PACES examination will be offered in March 2019. Both examinations will be facilitated and invigilated by local faculty and representatives of the MRCP(UK). The initiative has been led by AKU Assistant Professor, Dr Dilraj Singh Sokhi who has been appointed as the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Lead for East Africa.

Those who pass the examinations will be awarded the MRCP(UK) diploma, which is an internationally recognised qualification, enabling them to receive advanced training in specialised areas of medicine. The qualificationis valued as a significant professional distinction in the medical field.

“We are delighted to partner with the Aga Khan University to establish the first PACES centre in sub-Saharan Africa,” said the Federation International Medical Director, Assessment, Dr Donald Farquhar. “The University has proven itself as an institution committed to offering high quality training, making it an excellent partner in the nurturing of high quality doctors equipped with the requisite skills to address patient needs in the 21st century.”

PACES is the largest international clinical examination for postgraduate physicians in the world, and involves senior physicians using real patients to assess doctors’ competency in diagnosis, treatment and management of patients, ensuring that successful candidates are able to provide a high standard of care.

Professor Michael Chung, Chair of the Department of Medicine at AKU, notes that the achievement has been received positively by the East, Central and Southern Africa College of Physicians, which aims to double the number of medical specialist physicians being trained in the region by 2030. Having international standards for examining postgraduate doctors in the region such as MRCP(UK) will improve the breadth and quality care to patients, which aligns with the Social Pillar of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (