The Medical Genetics Education Programme (MGEP) is a course devised by medical geneticists and genetic counsellors aimed at empowering qualified healthcare workers who care for those affected with congenital disorders or for those at risk of having a baby with a congenital disorder.
The course book, ‘Birth Defects – A learning programme for professionals’ was developed in conjunction with the Perinatal Education Programme (PEP). Originally divided into MGEP 1 (Principles of Genetics and Genetic Counselling) held over four months and MGEP 2 (Clinical and Genetic Counselling), the manual was supplemented with contact days (one per month) including supplementary lectures and interactive sessions for participants.
The MGEP course was originally developed under the auspices of SAIDA using March of Dimes funding donated to the organisation. Between 2004-2013 over 1000 health care providers, mainly labour ward nurses, from hospitals and Primary Health Care facilities across South Africa underwent MGEP training. In 2013/14 this training ceased due to a lack of funding and the need to assess the impact of previous trainings. As a consequence of the lack of ongoing support most trainees have discontinued in their genetic nursing function and moved to non-related fields, with fewer than 100 of the original 1000 remaining in the genetic services sector today.
Both the MGEP course and the Birth Defects manual are currently undergoing revision and will be relaunched once this process is complete and funding is available. If you would be interested in participating in the revised training, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.