Visiting professorships and training assistance at African universities

a summary of three teaching projects

Country: Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique
Project management: Michael Runge
Funding amount: 31,000 euros
Duration: 14-day assignments in the years 2007-2014
Local project partner: See below
All sponsors: See below
Contact: Michael Runge

In the years 2001 to 2007, as part of our second Vietnam project (see there), teaching materials for specialist training in gynecology and obstetrics were created. These were the world’s first mono- or bilingual textbooks that were specifically tailored to the specialist knowledge and practical exercise of future specialists.

You become a specialist through theoretical and practical training. In our countries we learn from textbooks, hundreds of which are available in our libraries, through dozens of congresses and further training sessions every year, through the Internet and the exchange of experiences with colleagues, through teaching visits from our superiors, through joint operations, weekly, in-house further training events (CME, continuous medical education) and targeted events on critical illnesses resulting in the death of mother or newborn child. In the poorest countries, young colleagues often have little of this available for training.

If the theoretical and practical knowledge is missing in the training, medicine will always be just guessing and treating symptoms without a real diagnosis (“guessing medicine”). Merely treating symptoms is, according to all experience, wrong in 40% of patients and leads to unnecessary suffering and financial burden for the already poor population and often to premature death.

Surgery textbooks and video DVDs for learners, and CD-ROMs for teaching university teachers and teaching midwives

The teaching materials we actually developed for use in resource-poor countries were recommended and accredited for specialist training in Europe by the European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (EBCOG) in Brussels because of their practical relevance. In the English-speaking African countries and universities in particular, this led to an increased demand for our 18 books for medical specialists, 14 video DVDs and 28 CD-ROMs for university teachers to teach the content. In the period that followed, the project manager Michael Runge was repeatedly invited by the above-mentioned universities on the African continent.


  • Improvement of the theoretical and practical training in gynecology and obstetrics in the inviting universities
  • Improving health care for women and their children
  • Promotion of international training and research cooperations with the support of the DAAD in Bonn
  • The participating universities should be given access to German DAAD scholarship programs

Young specialist student at the gynecological clinic in Maputo, Mozambique

Implementation and results

  • In these “visiting professorships” several modules were usually taught and the use of multimedia teaching materials in theoretical and practical lessons was demonstrated to the local lecturers
  • The participating universities each received a set of all teaching materials for their libraries and the reference libraries in the associated teaching hospitals
  • The unrestricted right of use for our 28 modules was granted to the universities for a period of five years. An extension after this time was possible on request.
  • The contents of the teaching agreements were recorded in a “Memorandum of Understanding” and signed by the university bodies involved
  • In the case of the Eduardo Mondlane University in the capital of Mozambique, Maputo, our modules were subsequently taught by a medical employee of the German “Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)” without any further action on our part
  • In the case of Ghana, the visiting professorship resulted in a lively academic exchange with Freiburg
  • Applications for scholarships outside of medicine were submitted to the DAAD from all project countries

Michael Runge (left) during a break from teaching in the gynecological clinic of the Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique. Dr. G. Dietz from GIZ, who took over the teaching program (right)


Even small projects like the one presented here, in cooperation with the committed university professors as “opinion multipliers” and “opinion leaders”, can have a major impact on the health care of women and their children.

Local project partners: Universität Accra, Medizinische Fakultät, Ghana
Universität von Kumasi – Frauenklinik, Ghana
Universität Goldküste, Medizinische Fakultät, Ghana
Katholisches Lehrkrankenhaus Battor, Ghana
Universität Addis Ababa, Frauenklinik, Äthiopien
Universität Gondar, Frauenklinik, Äthiopien
Universität Jimma, Frauenklinik, Äthiopien
Eduardo-Mondlane-Universität, Frauenklinik,
Maputo, Mozambik
All sponsors: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst DAAD, Bonn
Materra Stiftung Frau und Gesundheit e.V., Freiburg
Else-Kröner-Fresenius Stiftung, Bad Homburg
Collaborating Center for Postgraduate Training and
Research in Reproductive Health, Universitäts-Frauenklinik, Freiburg

Contact: Michael Runge

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