Baylor College of Medicine in Botswana

Having international agreements with medical institutions around the world is not uncommon for the Texas Medical Center. But now, Baylor College of Medicine is taking the next step in helping Botswana build a medical school. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports.

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Senior Vice President and Dean of Medical Education Doctor Major Bradshaw has been in a leadership position at Baylor College of Medicine for the past 30 years. Instead of thinking about retirement, Bradshaw is thinking about how to start a medical school in Botswana. He leaves next month to begin work on developing a curriculum and designing a building for the medical and health sciences programs.

"The goal of course is to have students beginning at the University of Botswana and completing all of their medical education in that country. And the motivation is clearly to have people stay in Botswana to practice."

Bradshaw says about ten percent of medical staff in Botswana is originally from the republic. He says the rest come from elsewhere on a contract basis.

"Physicians from Russia, from China, a lot from Cuba and other countries. And they are there for six months, the average time is about three years apparently, some stay longer. But it's a real problem for the stability for the country."

Bradshaw says it also creates a language barrier. The University of Botswana developed its own pre-med program and Baylor will now help them expand that.Bradshaw has the challenge of developing a curriculum that meets the need of the community.

"The emphasis is going to be much more in terms of public health measures, primary care measures, there will be not only more emphasis on HIV, but more emphasis on tuberculosis and malaria."

Baylor has already established a pediatric HIV/AIDS clinic in Botswana. It opened in 2003. University of Pennsylvania has an affiliation with the hospital in Botswana. Also, the Harvard school of Public Health does the specialized lab testing for the country and has a research program based in Botswana. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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