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Training through Distance Learning in Namibia using the Project ECHO Model

I-TECH in Namibia spearheaded use of distance learning for HIV care and treatment through the establishment of a digital video conferencing network to link Windhoek with training sites and hospitals throughout the country starting in 2008. Building off that foundation, Namibia became the first country in Africa to implement the Project ECHO model, a tele-health platform started at the University of New Mexico, whereby clinicians in remote areas connect with rotating subject matter experts and clinicians a robust virtual community of practice to build health care worker capacity, support peer-to-peer cross-facility learning and reduce feelings of professional isolation.

I-TECH supported the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services in a nine-month pilot of the Project ECHO model at 10 health facilities with high HIV prevalence between 2015 and 2016, followed by programmatic expansion to a total of 40 sites in September 2019. An evaluation of the pilot period demonstrated the ability of the Namibia HIV Project ECHO to improve healthcare worker knowledge and satisfaction and decrease professional isolation. I-TECH continues to provide technical and IT support, as well as actively participate as attendees and facilitators in the weekly sessions.