Distance Learning

In 2005, USAID’s Bureau of Global Health had a challenge: With staff all over the world, how could the Bureau best provide access to consistent, up-to-date global health information? The answer was distance learning delivered through the Global Health eLearning Center (GHeL). GHeL offers a flexible learning program for busy professionals, with courses authored by recognized subject matter experts. GHeL’s initial audience was health sector staff at USAID missions,  but GHeL’s learner base has grown to more than 165,000 people from across the global public health sphere. 

In addition to managing this popular eLearning platform, K4Health has expanded our distance learning efforts to include blended learning approaches, online learning communities/study groups around specific health topics, content development for a community health worker mobile app, and interactive voice response follow-up support for online course participants. 

In Practice

CHN On the Go

Logo of the CHN on the Go mobile application. Credit: Produced by Grameen Foundation/Ghana under the Concern Worldwide US, Inc. (CUS) Innovations for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health initiative, Care Community Hub (CCH) project

Background

Community health nurses (CHNs) are often the primary providers of maternal, newborn, and child health care (MNCH) in rural Ghanaian communities. Yet CHNs face significant challenges to address the health care needs of their communities, which are geographically diffuse and often under-resourced. While CHNs serve a crucial role, they are the least credentialed nurses within the Ghana Health Service, and have limited opportunities for career advancement. Their experience maps with global trends, which indicated that although there are more in-service training programs developed for health workers than ever before, a continuum of learning from pre-service to in-service training is needed.

Professional Development for Community Health Nurses in Ghana through Mobile Learning

K4Health collaborated with Ghana Health Service (GHS) and Grameen Foundation under the Concern Worldwide US, Inc. (CUS) Innovations for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health initiative, Care Community Hub (CCH) project to provide CHNs in five rural districts of Ghana access to professional development courses on a variety of family planning (FP) and maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) topics via an Android app. Our goal was twofold: 1) to provide accessible, high-quality, relevant educational opportunities to an indispensable group of primary care providers and 2) to understand how the provision of learning materials could improve workplace satisfaction and equip CHNs with new technical knowledge.

KMTC Kitui Students

Two students at KMTC Kitui discuss how they like interacting with the K4Health IVR Family Planning Course on their mobile phone. The course utilized mobile technology, specifically interactive voice response, to provide refresher training of family planning information learned through the Global Health e-Learning Center. Credit: Amanda BenDor

 

Background

The exponential growth in mobile technology offers a plethora of opportunities for providing continuing education and support to traditional in-person training and education programs. In partnership with Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) and the Family Planning (FP) Center of Excellence in Kitui, K4Health sought to explore ways to broaden the uptake of the global health technical content available on the Global Health eLearning Center (GHeL) and K4Health Topic Pages to increase knowledge transfer and retention via popular mobile technologies - Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and WhatsApp.

 

“Mobile learning is a wonderful way to learn; you learn at your own pace, anywhere, and any time.... Young people love technology; if you teach via it, you as the teacher and students will win!” - Mohamed Abdikaedir, student of Kenya Medical Training College-Kitui 

Blog

Kate Consavage

USAID | Nutrition Communications and Knowledge Management Advisor, Global Health Bureau
New mothers are counseled on proper breastfeeding and nutrition practices by a peer mother during a women’s support group in the Rukiga district of southwest Uganda.

New mothers are counseled on proper breastfeeding and nutrition practices by a peer mother during a women’s support group in the Rukiga district of southwest Uganda. Photo: Kate Consavage/USAID

With one in three people affected by inadequate nutrition, the social, economic, and health consequences of malnutrition are tremendous. Adequate nutrition plays an important role in well-being at all life stages, but the 1,000-day window from a woman’s pregnancy through her child’s second birthday offers a unique opportunity to ensure a child’s proper growth and development for a more prosperous and healthy future. Both the causes and consequences of malnutrition are multi-faceted; therefore, tackling this vast burden requires multi-sectoral coordination and action. Guided by its Multi-sectoral Nutrition Strategy, USAID’s nutrition efforts address both the direct and underlying causes of malnutrition, fostering healthier, more productive individuals and families and more stable and resilient societies.

Annē Linn

The Demographic and Health Surveys Program, CCP and ICF | Communications Associate
In Ghana, mother and son, Mercy and Daniel, lie under the insecticide-treated net (ITN) they received to protect them from malaria.

In Ghana, mother and son, Mercy and Daniel, lie under the insecticide-treated net (ITN) they received to protect them from malaria. 2016 Sarah Hoibak/VectorWorks, Courtesy of Photoshare.

Malaria continues to pose a tremendous public health threat around the globe. An estimated 3.3 billion people, or 40% of the world’s population, live in areas of malaria risk. The investments made in vector control, malaria in pregnancy, and prompt diagnosis and treatment of malaria infections have resulted in many successes, but challenges remain. One of these challenges is the question of how to best measure the fight against malaria.

Decision makers in malaria-endemic settings need to understand available data to answer programmatic questions and make informed decisions. What proportion of households in a country or region have at least one insecticide-treated net (ITN)? What proportion of the population used an ITN last night? What proportion of women received at least three doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) to prevent malaria during their last pregnancy? What proportion of children with fever had advice or treatment sought for them? What proportion of children age 6-59 months are infected with malaria?

Sophie Weiner

CCP | Communications Specialist
Tamunotonye Harry is a Nigerian-based digital health advocate who has completed several courses through K4Health’s Global Health eLearning platform.

Tamunotonye Harry is a Nigerian-based digital health advocate who has completed several courses through K4Health’s Global Health eLearning platform. Photo Credit: Carrot Photography.

Tamunotonye Harry is a young digital health professional based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. After learning about the Global Health eLearning Center (GHeL) and taking a course on digital health, Tamunotonye connected with K4Health for information about our Global Digital Health Network. In this lightly edited interview, Tamunotonye explains how discovering GHeL has influenced his career path in a positive way.

How did your experience in the National Youth Service Corps engage you in mHealth work?

Tamunotonye Harry: I graduated from the University of Port Harcourt with a degree in Human Physiology in 2015. I had to wait a whole year before I was finally accepted into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). The one-year gap was actually a blessing as I used this time to gain work and volunteer experience, which involved building capacity for children with disabilities.

Resources

The Global Health eLearning Center created this infographic to highlight its range of online cou

In August 2016, K4Health tested the WhatsApp Messenger platform as a mode to deliver family planning continued professional development training content to Kenyan health workers and promote knowledge exchange and discussion. A seven-week training program on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy (HTSP) was designed and delivered to 160 participants. The findings from this training activity reveal that WhatsApp is well-received as a platform for continuing professional development. Implementation of the activity also led to a number of lessons learned around training setup, facilitation, and active participation.

In response to a growing demand for customized training content, K4Health began to explore new ways to deliver the technical global health content available online for free from the Global Health eLearning Center (GHeL). The goal was to reach a wider audience of health care program managers and health care providers working in low- and middle-income countries. This white paper describes K4Health’s IVR activity implementation, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). It also serves as a guiding example for other program implementers and organizations interested in using IVR to train health professionals.