Background The pressure to incorporate issues of global health into pre-/post-graduate medical curricula is increasing in order to provide new generations of doctors with a multicultural perspective on health care. Herein we update the experience of a partnership between the Paediatric Residency Program (PRP) of the Padua University (Italy) and the Non-Governmental Organisation ‘Doctors for Africa CUAMM’ (CUAMM), recently published in the Italian Journal of Paediatrics, which aims to offer residents the opportunity to attend a 6-month elective in Africa, called ‘JPO’.
Methods The constitutive elements of the JPO are: a memorandum-of-understanding between Padua University and CUAMM; periodic site-visits; candidate selection process; pre-departure educational course; preceptorship in Padua and Africa; personalised learning objectives and job description; hands-on experience; evaluation; feed-backs/reports. The African hospitals (Beira- Mozambique and Wolisso/Ethiopia) were chosen based on the presence of paediatrics in staff from CUAMM.
Results Between 2006 and 12/2013, 16 residents, aged 27–33 years, three attending the III, ten the IV and three the V year of residency consecutively joined the JPO. All worked in paediatric in-patient units; eight in out-patient clinics, six in emergency rooms, nine in community health centres. Thirteen were involved in teaching activities; six in clinical research. All residents completed successfully the 6-month elective and achieved their learning objectives.
Conclusions To our knowledge no other European PRP provides international electives based on such strategic framework. We updated this experience convinced of the importance of stimulating a debate on this matter, of generating criticisms, ideas and hopefully inspiring similar experiences.