A medical education training programme for palliative care professionals in the Philippines

In the Philippines, more than 75% of cancer patients cannot access essential pain relief because there are very few palliative care services. Since 2020, the National Children’s Hospital (NCH) and Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration (TWCC) have been working together to design training programmes for healthcare professions in the Philippines, to address this gap.

In 2023, through a new partnership with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, NCH and TWCC have been able to develop an innovative new training programme in medical education for health professionals – Collaborative Online Medical Education Training (COMET), to provide enhanced training in medical education, which will help clinical teachers in the Philippines to design more effective palliative care training programmes.

The COMET course consists of eleven interactive online sessions, which provides an introduction to the fundamentals of medical education, including topics such as curriculum development, principles of good teaching, selecting the best teaching methods, teaching programme evaluation, workplace teaching, and competency-based medical education. Seeking to incorporate inter-disciplinary collaboration, the course is designed for a wide variety of health professionals including physicians, nurses, social workers, and other types of health workers. The final session was conducted with Dr Tim Wood from the University of Ottawa, who visited the Philippines and lead a 1-day interactive workshop, in February 2024.

COMET participants and faculty connect via a virtual learning platform provided by Project ECHO and TWCC (www.iecho.org). Participants also connected with faculty between sessions through a dedicated messaging group, where they asked questions and shared resources. Throughout the course, participants were encouraged to put their new knowledge and skills into practice through interactive discussions and work in small groups, where they focused on the practical challenges they face while teaching in their workplace.

The COMET course also received endorsement from Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) in the United Kingdom and participants received a certificate of completion at the end of the course.