The status and outcomes of interprofessional health education in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review

Gatera Fiston Kitema*, Anita Helen Laidlaw, Veronica O'Carroll, Jean Baptiste Sagahutu, Andrew Blaikie

*Corresponding author for this work

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The increasing burden of chronic diseases, and shortage of health care workers especially in Low and Middle Income countries (LMICs) requires greater collaborative working between health professions. There is a growing body of evidence that interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional continuous education (IPCE) can improve collaborative practice thus strengthening health care delivery in low resource settings. The World Health Organization (WHO) promotes this educational strategy in these regions as part of wider programs to improve health care. The purpose of this systematic review was to summarize IPE and IPCE activities in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and its outcomes; including practice, service and patient outcomes. Standard guidelines for conducting and reporting systematic reviews were followed. The online databases searched included MEDLINE, Embase, Education Resources Information Centre (ERIC), the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) and Science Direct. The Kirkpatrick model was used to classify IPE outcomes reported from literature. Following full text screening, 41 articles were selected for data extraction. It was found that IPE/IPCE is still a relatively new concept in SSA with 93% of studies published after 2012. Furthermore, IPE is concentrated predominantly in undergraduate institutions and mainly implemented to improve collaborative practice and address important public health concerns. Positive reaction and outcomes of IPE/IPCE were reported in terms of change of attitude and perception toward collaborative practice as well as knowledge and skills acquisition. Few studies in SSA sought to understand and measure the outcomes of IPE/IPCE relating to health care practice. More work in this important potential outcome of IPE/IPCE is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-155
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Interprofessional Care
Issue number1
Early online date5 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Collaborative practice
  • Health education
  • Interdisciplinary practice
  • Interprofessional education
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


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