MAINTAINING EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING OF HUMAN ANATOMY: UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI EXPERIENCE Julius ogeng’o, Kevin Ongeti, Musa Misiani, Beda Olabu. Correspondence to Prof. Julius Ogeng’o, Department of Human Anatomy University of Nairobi PO Box 30197 00100 Nairobi. Email:

Experience in maintaining excellence in teaching of human anatomy is important in informing strategies
to mitigate worldwide decline in the level of knowledge of human anatomy among medical students
and qualifying doctors. Factors responsible for the decline include reduction in teaching time,
inadequate teachers and undermining of cadaver dissection. Measures to address these challenges
have resulted in wide disparities in curriculum design teaching methods, number and composition of
instructors. Inspite of the challenges, the Department of Human Anatomy of the University of Nairobi
(UON) maintained excellence of teaching for over 40yrs. This article describes the teaching of anatomy
at the UON with a view of elucidating the learning points from which other departments can learn.
Analysis reveals that human anatomy is allocated 630hrs per year of which 350hrs are allocated to
gross anatomy with 270hrs devoted to dissection. Although dissection has remained the cornerstone of
instruction, it is combined with clinically oriented problem based instruction, use of prosections,
diagnostic imaging, computer aided and small group learning. Teaching of gross anatomy is integrated
with microscopic, developmental and neuroanatomy. The department runs and intercalated Bachelor of
Science (B.Sc.) anatomy degree which is a reliable source of members of staff. Over 70% of the staff
are surgeons. They are assisted by demonstrators drawn from trainee surgeons and young B.Sc.
Anatomy graduates. Excellence in teaching anatomy can be maintained by reclaiming sufficient
teaching time, combined dissection with contemporary methods of instruction, integrating gross,
microscopic, developmental anatomy, neuroanatomy, involvement of clinicians in teaching,
commencing training anatomy early and engagement of demonstrators.
Key words: Anatomy teaching, University of Nairobi



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