The eHealth programme has grown over time. It started as a pilot project for upgrading nurses in Kenya in 2005. To date, the eHealth programme is supporting 15 projects in eight (8) countries across Africa namely Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia, and Senegal.
The following are some of the projects that the eHealth programme supports:
Amref Health Africa, in a classic public-private partnership with the Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK), Amref Health Africa, Accenture, the Kenya Medical Training Colleges, several private and faith-based nursing schools and the Ministry of Health Kenya pioneered a country-wide
eLearning programme for upgrading nurses in Kenya.
The programme commenced in September 2005 with a pilot of 4 schools and 145 students and aims to upgrade 22,000 Enrolled Community Health Nurses (KECHN) from ‘enrolled’ to ‘registered’ level within 5 years. Enrolled Nurses (ENs) comprise 70% of nursing and 45% of the health care workforce in Kenya. They are the first point of contact for communities, but are inadequately skilled to manage new and re-emerging diseases like HIV/AIDS. This has necessitated their Continuing Professional Development to improve nursing care standards, achieve the health related Millennium Development Goals (4, 5, and 6) and enable them respond effectively to disease diversity and complexity.
Why Electronic Learning?
E-learning was the preferred mode due to its interactivity, cost effectiveness, ease of revision and ability to achieve the goal in less time and at a lower cost than the residential programme. It would also enable continued service provision, instant application of learning and improved quality of care.
E-Learning Schools & Centres
- 32 Medical Training Colleges & Nursing schools participating including Amref Virtual Training School.
- Over 100 computer-equipped training centers set up in 8 regions, including rural, remote and marginalised areas such as, Garissa and Dadaab Refugee Camp in the North Eastern Region of Kenya.
- Over 4,000 nurses enrolled on both eLearning and print-based learning modes.
- Over 500 computers installed in training centers.
- Over 192 implementers trained in IT skills.
For Kenya, a country with one registered nurse for every 27,000 citizens, the eLearning programme is revolutionising health care by creating an electronic infrastructure for the accelerated education.
- Flexibility: enables students to learn anytime and anywhere, while they work, with minimal interference with health service provision.
- Interactivity: facilitates nurses’ acquisition of IT skills
- Accessibility: provides access to courses at the student’s schedule, regardless of location, through learning centres that are open 24/7.
Programme Structure, Curriculum and Clinical Experience
The ECHN Upgrading curriculum is designed to produce a well-rounded nurse who can handle new and re-emerging diseases. It comprises 4 modules: General Nursing, Reproductive Health, Community Health and Specialised Areas. The theory is provided through a blend of scheduled face to face sessions and self-paced computer-based material. In addition, students are required to complete 42 weeks of clinical experience. At the end of the 4 modules, students sit for their college finals and the NCK licensing exams at the end of the programme.
Amref Health Africa has used the programme as a model for other African nations struggling with critical nursing shortages similar to Kenya.
2. The HELP Project
The Health Enabled and Learning Platform (HELP) is a project that aims to strengthen, expand and develop Community Health Workers (CHW) training programmes in Kenya by integrating innovative technologies including mHealth learning in rural, urban and nomadic settings. The project will develop mobile content that will be used for mobile learning (mLearning) to compliment the current face-to-face training of CHWs to enhance learning. This mobile content will be developed from a selection of topics in the Distance Education (DE) Content that will be felt relevant to complement the face to face learning by Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Kenya.
3. The ADAM Project
The ADAM project is run by a consortium, Amref Health Africa (lead partner), Danya International, Afri Afya and ICF Macro Known collectively as the ADAM consortium. The purpose of the project is to strengthen the capacity in Kenya to collect and use surveillance data and manage national HIV/AIDS projects by expanding HIV/STI/TB surveillance projects and strengthening laboratory support for surveillance, diagnosis, treatment, disease monitoring and HIV screening for blood safety. To develop and support implementation of monitoring and evaluation strategies and tools to track programmatic activities and report for decision making and project improvement.
4. The Zambia Nurse and Lifeskills Training Project
Funded by MasterCard Foundation, the Zambia Nurse and Lifeskills Training Programme (ZNLTP) is a partnership between ChildFund and Amref Health Africa as the implementing agencies. The key stakeholders in nursing education in Zambia include the Ministry of Health (MoH), the General Nursing Council (GNC), the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health, Public, Private and Faith-Based nurse training institutions and health facilities for clinical practice, as well as other institutions. The objective of the programme is to train high school graduates (youth) entering the nursing and midwifery profession.
The core activities of the programme include adaptation of accredited nursing and midwife training curricula to print-based distance learning and eLearning modules, equipping of training centres with computers and tools, building capacity of nursing & midwifery tutors and mentors, provision of scholarship support for students for nurse and midwife training, and supporting the transition to employment by providing life skills.
5. The Malawi eLearning Project
The Amref Health Africa - Southern Africa Hub is implementing an eLearning programme in Malawi. The objective of this eLearning programme is to up-skill 150 nurse-midwife technicians from, ‘enrolled’ to ‘registered’ status within 2 years. Through eLearning the nurse-midwife can continue her job so that no gaps are left in the health system, and instant application of learning and improved quality of care is possible. The nurse-midwife will have increased confidence at work, and an improved ability to manage and treat patients. They will have a greater awareness of new and re-emerging technical conditions, nursing research as well as improved administrative and managerial skills. Ultimately, the nurses will become better equipped to do their jobs and save more lives.
6. The ICAP-NEPI Supported Lesotho eLearning Programme
Amref Health Africa is providing technical support to the ICAP/Nurse Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI) that seeks to train diploma level midwives using distance education, and specifically, eLearning. The training programme targets diploma level nurses who will undergo a 1-year programme to become registered nurse-midwives. The NEPI initiative is comprised of a number of activities to help achieve this objective, one of which is the development of distance learning materials.
7. JIBU mlearning project for nurses and midwives in East Africa
The JIBU mLearning project, funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, is an extension borne out of the experience gained from the eLearning programme. The aim of the project is to test the use of mobile technology by nurses and midwives to increase access to health information and ultimately improve service delivery.
8. Staying Alive project
The Staying Alive project is a maternal health initiative which focuses on four(4) maternal health components: emergency obstetric care (EmoC), family planning, post-abortion and fistula care. The goal of the project is to contribute to the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity in the target districts related to poor obstetric care at birth, lack of safe post-abortion care and un-repaired obstetric fistula. The eHealth programme is providing support to the implementing countries (Kenya, Uganda and Malawi) to leverage e&mHealth approaches to achieve the goals of the project.
9. Uganda eLearning programme
The eLearning nurses/midwives upgrading programme in Uganda was launched in February 2010 by the Minister of health. The programme is a partnership between Amref Health Africa, the Ministry of health, the Ministry of education and sports (MoES), the Uganda nurses and midwives council (UNMC), training institutions and funding partners. The overall aim of the programme is to train midwives to a diploma (registered) level to help improve the health of the rural based and disadvantaged populations in Uganda.