Laboratory Scientist Professional Development in Nigeria

Background

Continuing education strengthens the health workforce by providing important knowledge and skills, sharing new policies, and keeping workers engaged and feeling valued. However, in-person trainings are expensive, require extended time away from critical responsibilities, and are often inconvenient.

Continuing Professional Development for Medical Laboratory Scientists

With funding from the USAID Mission in Nigeria, K4Health partnered with the Medical Laboratory Science Council in Nigeria (MLSCN) and the Association for Medical Laboratory Scientist of Nigeria (AMLSN) to improve medical laboratory scientists’ (MLS) knowledge and skills with the ultimate goal of improving job performance and medical laboratory service delivery.

The K4Health/Nigeria Continuing Medical Laboratory Education (CMLE) Project developed, disseminated, and institutionalized an updated CPD Policy, making earning CPD credits a requirement for annual re-licensing. As part of the new policy, the project launched nine AMLSN-authored, MLSCN-accredited eLearning courses on AMLSN's own eLearning platform. K4Health supported the development of the platform, which AMLSN now owns and maintains.

The CMLE Project began in September 2011 and concluded in September 2015.

Results: The end of project evaluation conducted in 2014 revealed that the CPD Policy is meeting its intended goal of improving the technical skills and proficiencies of medical laboratory scientists. Supervisors of medical laboratory scientists confirmed that the CPD activities, including the accredited eLearning courses, have lead to job improvements in laboratory management, client interaction, and technical skills related to diagnostic procedures.

Sustainability:To ensure sustainability beyond the project-funded period, K4Health transferred responsibility and coordination of all project activities to AMLSN and MLSCN by documenting roles and responsibilities, conducting short-term field visits, co-developing work plans, collaborating on strategic planning, and facilitating training workshops on eLearning as well as financial management capacity building, policy development, proposal writing, resource mobilization, business planning, and monitoring and evaluation.

Key factors contributing to the success of the project were the establishment of organizational systems and the strategic use of a number of open-source technologies. Specifically, K4Health worked with partners to customize MLSCN's iHRIS system to include a module for tracking the CPD Policy, making it interoperable with AMLSN's eLearning platform and MLSCN's payment software, and making the system available for self-service.

These technologies, along with the organizational structures, staff, and processes, are still in operation today.

Hear from the partners how a common vision was established and put into practice to make this project a success.