African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine (Jun 2020)

Service-learning in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: Emerging lessons from the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Botswana

  • Billy M. Tsima,
  • Tiny Masupe,
  • Vincent Setlhare

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 1
pp. e1 – e3


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The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted many lives worldwide. Training programmes in academic institutions have also been affected by the pandemic. Teaching and learning family medicine and public health medicine in the COVID-19 era require adjustments to training activities. At the University of Botswana, the pandemic presented an opportunity to steer training programmes in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Medicine more towards service-learning. The department collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Wellness as well as the District Health Management teams in the national response to the pandemic as essential service providers. The increased demands for service provision were balanced with educational opportunities for trainees during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Including structured ongoing reflections for trainees involved in the COVID-19 response helps to connect service and the academic curriculum.