eLearning Courses for Nigerian Medical Laboratory Scientists
- Good Medical Laboratory Practices
- Update on HIV Diagnosis
- Update on Malaria Diagnosis
- Update on TB Diagnosis
- Introduction to Medical Laboratory Supply Chain Management
- TB/HIV Co-Infection
Strengthening laboratory systems and infrastructure, along with improving the knowledge and skills of laboratory personnel, are necessary building blocks to diagnosing HIV and other diseases and to achieving universal access to care and treatment. HIV prevalence in Nigeria is comparatively low among African countries, at about 4%. However, because Nigeria has such a large population, which is expected to surpass 170 million in 2012, a significant number of people have HIV—about 3 million people are currently living with HIV and more than 330,000 new infections are reported each year.
The K4Health/Nigeria Continuing Professional Development (CPD) project is a two-year project focused on continuously improving the knowledge of Medical Laboratory Scientists, updating and sharpening their skills, and acquiring new skills. Having access to a Web-based CPD program could significantly improve the ability of Medical Laboratory Scientists to deliver accurate and reliable laboratory test results.
The K4Health Project works closely with and supports the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) and the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) to develop, implement, and institutionalize the Web-based CPD program. This program will ensure that CPD credits become a standard requirement for all laboratory professionals. By the end of the project, at least 50% of Medical Laboratory Scientists in Nigeria will earn a CPD credit from the MLSCN through the CPD program.
Sustainability and capacity building are the cornerstones of the project. K4Health is helping to develop local capacity from the onset of the project by working closely with local groups and leaders and will gradually transfer responsibility and leadership to them to ensure sustainability beyond the life of the project. Key project activities include:
- Rapid needs assessment targeting information gaps and technological capabilities of Medical Laboratory Scientists in Nigeria
- Training of experts in HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and quality improvement in eLearning course development and instructional design methodology
- Development and institutionalization of updated CPD policy
- Development and launch of eLearning courses
- Promotion of CPD program throughout Medical Laboratory Scientist community
Research was conducted from February - April 2013 to determine the extent to which MLS improved their knowledge, updated and sharpened their skills, and acquired new skills as a result of the knowledge obtained from the AMLSN‐authored, MLSCN‐accredited YR1 courses. Read the results from two focus groups and an online survey.
Most Laboratory Scientists in Nigeria Have Access to Computers
A rapid needs assessment completed in 2012 found that only about half of the Medical Laboratory Scientists surveyed have had a formal computer training course. However, 65% have access to computers at home and 84% use computers for such activities as email and database entry, to search for professional development opportunities, write reports, and read news. Furthermore, only 10% of respondents indicated that they are “not comfortable” using the computer. Therefore, potential users of the project's eLearning courses have a basic knowledge of computers and are comfortable using the computer for a variety of tasks despite the lack of formal training. In addition, the majority of respondents have attended a lecture or some other activity for CPD credit, indicating a motivated audience.
Project Duration: September 19, 2011 – September 18, 2013
Funding: USAID/Nigeria, Office of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis
Partners: Medical Laboratory Scientist Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), USAID