Amref Virtual training School (AVTS) was started in March 2007 to test and disseminate eLearning best practices as a methodology for scaling up the numbers and capacity of health workers, particularly upgrading Enrolled Community Health Nurses (ECHNs) to registered nursing (KRCHN) level. As a virtual nursing school then, AVTS’s objectives were to develop quality eLearning models, upgrade ECHNs to Kenya Registered Community Health Nurses (KRCHNs) through use of cost-effective eLearning approaches and disseminate best practices to fellow internal and external partners. Having successfully upgraded over 10,000 enrolled nurses (ECHNs) in Kenya jointly with fellow stakeholders, the school has now embarked on replicating the same model in other African countries and gone a milestone further to offer upgrading degree programme (Bsc.Nursing) using the eLearning platform in partnership with the University of Nairobi- College of Health Sciences.
The overarching goal of the School is to increase health professionals’ access to affordable and quality pre-service and continuous education using innovative methodologies.
AVTS delivers its courses using eLearning and mLearning platforms. Students whose work stations are not near eLearning centres are assisted to access e-content using portable technology. In all the courses students have face-to-face contact sessions with e-tutors in every module/trimester before being released to learn in health facilities accredited by regulatory bodies under the supervision of trained mentors and preceptors. In addition to support from its over 400 mentors and preceptors across the country, AVTS uses technology-assisted interactive training sessions to support learners.
AVTS strongly believes in developing quality training synergies through constructive partnerships. The success of AVTS is attributed to embracing of private-public partnerships in training of health workers. AVTS works in partnership with the MOH, County governments, private and public facilities to increase HRH access to training opportunities.
Current partners of the School include the University of Nairobi, Kenyan Ministries of Health, the Kenyatta National Hospital, the Nursing Council of Kenya, the Agakhan University Hospital, the Division of Reproductive Health, Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital, the Mathare (Upper Muthaiga) Mental Health Hospital, The Karen Hospital, Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital and the Nairobi City Council health facilities among others.