Background: Community-Based Education (CBE) is an educational process aiming to ensure educational relevance to community needs, thereby contributing to improved community health needs. Addis Ababa University runs a six-week long Rural Community Health Training Program at Adami Tulu District, East Shoa Zone. In the program, the final year medical students are attached to the community to apply their theoretical training and address the community’s health problems. This study explored views of the local community about the program.
Methods: A descriptive qualitative study was carried out in Adami Tulu District of East Shoa Zone – the district is the site of the training program. Data was collected from community members, local administrators, health extension workers, school principals and opinion leaders selected from three kebeles within the attachment area. A total of five FGDs and six key informant interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. The audio-taped data was later transcribed verbatim and translated into English. Themes were developed guided by the objective of the study with the application of Open Code Version 4.02.
Results: The finding of the study revealed that the local community, beyond recognizing the participants as some kind of medical professionals from Addis Ababa University, knew very little about the program and its objectives. For example, the only benefit all the participants rightly mentioned in common, as evidence of their knowledge the program is free treatment for sick children by the students. Lack of communication between the university and local administration; absence of community involvement in the planning, execution and evaluation of the program; and problems related to language were identified as key areas for improvement.
Conclusion: The Rural Community Health Training Program (RCHTP) is an important resource for both the university and the local community. It is therefore important that the university take proactive measures and optimize the involvement of local leaders and community members to enhance their sense of ownership of the program. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2018;32(1):10-17]
Key words: Community health, rural attachment, RCHTP, Ziway