Author: Lindsay Baldwin

Certificate Program in Laboratory Leadership and Management

The I-TECH Certificate Program in Laboratory Leadership and Management (CPLLM) is a nine-month course that trains laboratory staff in supervisory positions leadership and management skills to make substantive and impactful improvements in laboratory testing quality and operations. The program was developed in 2013 and first piloted in 2014.

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I-TECH Ukraine Trains Faculty in Innovative Teaching Methods and Principles

Training participants and facilitators. Photo source: I-TECH Ukraine.

The International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) Ukraine, in partnership with the Ukrainian Family Medicine Training Center of Bogomolets National Medical University, conducted a three-day training course for clinical educators on principles and innovative methods for effective teaching. The course was held outside Kyiv from 18-20 September 2018.

Facilitating the training were Ann Downer, EdD, I-TECH Executive Director and Professor in the University of Washington Department of Global Health, and Michael Reyes, MD, MPH, I-TECH co-founder and Professor in the University of California, San Francisco Department of Family and Community Medicine.

The course focused primarily on new teaching methods and stronger instructional design for clinical courses taught by faculty, especially those with content on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and malaria. The objectives included helping clinical educators to:

  • strengthen learning objectives and measurement of student learning;
  • vary their use of teaching methods; and
  • revise lectures to make them more interactive.

Ann Downer, I-TECH Executive Director, conducts a session, “Competencies, Learning Objectives, and Domains of Learning,” on the first day of the training. Photo source: I-TECH Ukraine.

The course modeled these objectives by using small group work and other teaching methods to increase engagement.

“Over the course of three days, I was able to learn techniques and best practices to actively engage my course participants into the learning process,” says Galyna Vynogradova, Associate Professor of the Ukrainian Family Medicine Training Center and participant of the training.

This training course is a part of a larger I-TECH effort to build the clinical and managerial capacity of HIV/AIDS service providers throughout Ukraine.

Health Policy System Strengthening

I-TECH will continue to support the National Department of Health (NDoH) in the process of strengthening the policy management and implementation systems with a focus on reaching the 90-90-90 targets.

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Clinic Ward-Based Outreach Team (WBOT) Program

I-TECH will support the implementation of a Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) phased intervention to enhance ward-based Outreach Team (WBOT).

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Health Worker Capacity Development

I-TECH will support Human Resource and Primary Healthcare Directorate-led training and capacity development initiatives through training and mentoring activities based on gaps identified from assessment of health care worker competencies, with emphasis placed on the Professional Nurse.

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Mental Health Integration (MhINT) Program

In collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and The Knowledge Translation Unit, I-TECH is working with the National Department of Health (NDoH) to strengthen the integration of mental health services into routine chronic care within the primary health care system.

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Men’s HIV Self Screening

Through the South African Men’s HIV Self-Testing, I-TECH will demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of an intervention model utilizing community health workers and outreach team leaders to increase uptake of HIV testing and treatment initiation among undiagnosed HIV-positive men.

I-TECH South Africa Team Supports Local Community on National Women’s Day

In honor of National Women’s Day in South Africa on 9 August, members of the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) team in South Africa organized a personal donation to faith-based organization Participate, Empower, Navigate (PEN), which provides services and support to at-risk populations such as the homeless, sex workers, and orphaned children.

Members of I-TECH South Africa organized a personal donation to the Participate, Empower, Navigate (PEN) Organization in honor of National Women’s Day on 9 August 2018.

“We were interested in supporting a program that works with women and we were introduced to the Ladies Arise program at PEN,” explains Lebogang Ntswane, I-TECH South Africa program manager.

Ladies Arise is a community support program for homeless women provided through PEN. Many of the women seeking support from the program have been forced into sex work to make an income. Through Ladies Arise, the women can access a drop-in center where they can use the facilities to shower, do laundry, and eat a meal.

The drop-in center also coordinates activities for the women like art classes, crochet, and Bible study. In addition to the fun and sometimes income-generating programs, Ladies Arise provides the women with social and mental health services, such as counseling with PEN’s volunteer social worker.

PEN is a donor-funded non-profit organization and relies on donations of all kinds to continue offering much-needed services in Pretoria. In addition to fundraising events and a major supermarket that donates food to the center on a monthly basis, PEN also relies on donations of clothing, toiletries, and shoes from the community.

“One of our colleagues had seen the idea of filling handbags with toiletries in a magazine,” says Ntswane, “and we decided it would be a great way to commemorate National Women’s Day and assist the women in our community.”

I-TECH South Africa staffers donated the bags filled with new toiletries, as well as clothing and new packs of underwear, a particularly high-need item at the center.

In addition to donations, I-TECH team members had the chance to sit down with recipients over breakfast to learn about their stories. “One woman reported that she met with the center coordinator and was introduced to the Ladies Arise program. She is now attending a cosmetology course,” says Ntswane. “We are so glad that we found this organization, and we look forward to continuing our personal support of PEN whenever possible.”

I-TECH Attends IAS AIDS 2018 Conference

The International AIDS Society (IAS) held their 22nd international AIDS conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam 23-27 July 2018. This year, the conference objectives focused on advancing knowledge of HIV through research findings, promoting evidence-based HIV responses tailored to key populations, activating and galvanizing political commitment and accountability, addressing gaps in and highlighting the critical role of HIV prevention, as well as spotlighting the epidemic and HIV response in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Representatives from I-TECH were at the conference to present and discuss their posters:

Ann Downer gives a presentation at the AIDS 2018 Conference.

Ann Downer presents her abstract, “Lessons Learned from Sustained Global Health Investments” at AIDS 2018.

In addition to the two presentations above, I-TECH staff and faculty had a number of other abstracts accepted to the conference:

Phiona Marongwe presents her poster at the AIDS 2018 Conference.

Phiona Marangwe discusses her poster, “Trust but Verify: Is There a Role for Active Surveillance in Monitoring AEs in Large-Scale VMMC programs?” at AIDS 2018.

I-TECH Ukraine Conducts In-Service Nurse Training Pilots for Achieving 90-90-90

Recent public health care reform in Ukraine has called for the growing role of primary health care, task shifting, and decentralization of HIV services while providing care and treatment for people living with HIV (PLWH). In June 2018, the International Training and Education Center for health (I-TECH) Ukraine conducted two back-to-back, five-day in-service training programs on HIV testing services for two cohorts of participants from twelve regions across Ukraine.

Dr. Serhii Rabokon facilitates a training on the role of nurses in achieving UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets.

Dr. Serhii Rabokon, Head of the Treatment Programs at the CPH of the MoH of Ukraine, delivers a presentation on the nurse’s role in achieving UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. Photo source: I-TECH Ukraine.

The concept and design of these unique pilot training programs were influenced by the recent reform to actively involve general practice/primary care nurses into the process of achieving UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets in Ukraine.

A group of 10 national HIV and health care reform experts, I-TECH’s international consultant-nurse practitioner, and the I-TECH Ukraine training development team carefully designed the learning objectives and content of the training program with consideration of the specifics of the national HIV epidemic, participant backgrounds, as well as anticipated task shifting. Together, these experts synthesized and presented international and national clinical and nursing best practices in the area of serving PLWH.

Training participants included nurses from primary care facilities, specialized HIV clinics, as well as faculty of seven local nursing colleges, including I-TECH Ukraine’s national partners – Ternopil State Medical University and the Nursing College of Poltava Ukrainian Medical and Dental Academy.

The training programs outlined roles for general practice/primary care nurses in achieving UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, taught HIV basics, helped develop skills for HIV testing services with rapid HIV test kits, and coached participants on conducting counseling for PLWH using a non-discriminatory, patient-centered approach.

Participants working in small groups at the June 2018 training.

Participants in the second pilot training work in small groups. Photo source: I-TECH Ukraine.

Facilitators used interactive training tools and approaches during the program to fully engage participants and strengthen the capacity of the nursing college’s faculty to teach up-to-date HIV content in an appealing and efficient way.

One of the central elements of the program was to educate the participating nurses about the challenges surrounding HIV-related stigma and discrimination with a major goal to overcome it in the nursing community and encourage respectful delivery of services for PLWH.

“[I-TECH Ukraine and its partners are] doing such a[n] important thing,” says Valentyna Borysova, lecturer of Zaporizhzhia Nursing College. “Educating nurses on HIV has been so much underestimated and under-invested in Ukraine.”

In addition to feeling as though this training addressed a critical gap in education, participants also provided positive feedback about the content and facilitation of the training, especially the parts of the training that were facilitated by the international and national peer nurses.

Participants attend a training about HIV fundamentals.

Participants in the first pilot training focus on a presentation about HIV Fundamentals. Photo source: I-TECH Ukraine.

“The knowledge on testing and post-exposure prophylaxis are badly needed at our clinic,” says Liudmyla Samolelis, Senior Nurse of the Psychiatric Clinic in Poltava, Head of Poltava Oblast Nurse Association. “I plan to conduct an on-the-job training for the nurses, using the materials from the training.”

Due to the success of the pilot trainings, I-TECH Ukraine intends to finalize training materials, institutionalize the course through its local partners, and develop a manual that could be used in different training formats, including state-owned colleges and medical universities. In addition, an ambitious regional rollout of the training program is anticipated during the next year of the project.