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Blended Learning in Zambia (BLiZ)

Objective of BLiZ

The aim of our project “Improving the quality of medical education and healthcare in rural Zambia by implementing a sustainable and continuous blended-learning approach of teaching and training for medical education at Chainama College of Health Sciences in Lusaka, Zambia” is to strengthen skills and knowledge of Medical Licentiates (ML) and thereby in the end improving medical care for Zambia’s population, especially in the rural areas. Our collaborative project focuses on an important aspect of humanitarian aid: the sustainable teaching and training of health care staff in Zambia, a country with a critical shortage of human resources in health care. Thereby we focus on the teaching and training of Medical Licentiates, alongside the National Health Strategic Plan to prioritize the increase of human resources for health and thus improving access to quality health care. Survey results of demographic health of Zambia, showed the dire need for health care in rural areas, as the survey of 2007 for example highlighted a high child and maternal mortality in the periphery of Zambia.

Medical Licentiate Programme

Clinical Officers can participate in an upgrade training as a Medical Licentiate within a timeframe of 3-4 years and are then able to take over tasks of Medical Doctors. The primary point of action for Medical Licentiates lies in the rural areas of Zambia in district hospitals where there is no medical specialist present and the need for health care is direst. In 2013/14, the training for Medical Licentiates was upgraded and accredited as a Bachelor level programme (BSc CS) under the auspices of the School of Medicine of the University of Zambia. Training cycles are divided into on-site theoretical courses and extensive clinical rotations at accredited general hospitals, mostly in rural areas of Zambia. Clinical rotations constitute an essential part of the ML - BSc CS curriculum, during which ML students are attached to accredited sites for training on the job. These hospitals are distributed throughout Zambia. Students undergo two years of clinical rotation, one year of junior clerkship and one year of senior clerkship.Our project follows up on these focal areas of strengthening human resources and improving quality health care of ML by collaborating with the Chainama College of Health Sciences (CCHS), and the cooperation partner SolidarMed, both located in Lusaka.

Medical E-learning for the Medical Licentiate Programme

In the beginning of 2016, a first pilot phase of an ML e-learning platform as an additional tool has been introduced for the ML programme at CCHS with the support of SolidarMed. The proposed project will pick up on a solid base that SolidarMed has built since their active support for the ML programme in 2009. An evaluation of SolidarMed’s first project phases showed clearly that further support for onsite training for the ML programme is central and rapidly needed.The strengthening of teaching and training and the integration of the e- learning platform into the ML training, however, is beyond the capacity of locally available expertise and resources. Therefore, the cooperation with the Institute of Global Health, Heidelberg University Hospital, is a crucial addition within the wider context of improving the quality of teaching and training for the ML programme and building on expertise to implement the e-learning into the ML programme. The project wants to solidly strengthen the teaching and training for ML so that ML are better equipped to provide quality health care in the periphery and thereby contribute to better health outcomes for the Zambian population. Consequently, we focus on providing high- quality medical education which is fundamental for high-quality patient care. The project brings in the quality for training from a pool of consultants with long-standing activity in their respective fields of expertise. This also includes experts in Malawi, therefore also strengthening a south-south partnership, complemented with the expertise of widely- acknowledged consultants from the German project partners. The blended-learning approach covers further the integration of the e-learning component into the ML-programme and expanding its contents, while also sustaining the face-to-face teaching and trainings with consulting experts on the e-learning platform. The e-learning component follows along the recommendations of the National Training Operational Plan 2013 – 2016 (NTOP) of Zambia with one if its key recommendations being the strengthening of e-learning in order to meet the vision of providing cost effective qualified health training as close to the need as possible, thus mitigating the critical shortage of health workers.

Poster Pilot Phase Medical E-learning

Presented at DTG in October 2016 (see DTG Book of Abstracts, p. 21)

 

Project Partners

The main partner for this project is the Chainama College of Health Sciences. SolidarMed acts as a cooperating partner for this project, meaning that the project applicants are working hand in hand with SolidarMed to implement this project that will bring in a crucial addition of expertise to further develop the quality of teaching and training for the ML programme. The project is well placed within the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, the policies and plans of CCHS and the support of SolidarMed. A first phase of the project is planned for two years, with its main acting ground located in Lusaka and further activities planned for training sites of the ML programme, spread throughout 9 different general hospitals in Zambia. The overall political situation in Zambia is stable as compared to other African countries, thus providing a stable base for this project. We believe that the collaborating institutions and the cooperating partner - the Chainama College of Health Sciences, the Institute of Global Health of the Heidelberg University Clinic and the Swiss NGO SolidarMed - form a strong alliance covering the necessary expertise and experience to reliably achieve the objectives and innovations of this project. The partnership is a two-way exchange of experience, skills and expertise from a high-income institution and organization aiming to build the capacity of a low-income counterpart. The expected outcome after two years is to have a fully functional blended teaching and learning programme with the elements of intensified face to face onsite trainings and a continuous on- and off-line e-learning platform.

  

Chainama College of Health Sciences           SolidarMed – Schweizer Organisation für Gesundheit in Afrika         

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Sandra Barteit

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Florian Neuhann

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