Category Archives: Tanzania

I-TECH Presents Posters at IAS 2021 Conference on HIV Science

The International AIDS Society (IAS) virtually hosted the 11th Conference on HIV Science on 18-21 July 2021. The conference also included a “local partner hub” in Berlin, the original host city, for local experts to gather in person. This biennial conference brings together top HIV researchers, experts, and scientists for presentations and discussions on the latest advances in HIV research and practice.

Representatives from the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) virtually presented the following posters:

Representatives from I-TECH’s partner network organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also presented data from I-TECH-supported programs in Malawi, India, and Zimbabwe.

Advanced Disease and Patient Care/Cryptococcal Antigen Screening and Treatment in Tanzania

High-quality, effective, and evidence-based service delivery for HIV care and prevention requires a broad continuum of integrated and linked services to ensure consistent and high-quality client management over time. With the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to “Treat All,” eligibility for antiretroviral therapy (ART) among People Living with HIV (PLHIV) is eliminated, and all populations and age groups are linked in one universal policy. This recommendation change erases the distinction between all groups. However, a substantial number of PLHIV still present late to care and have advanced disease, and require interventions that prioritize clinical packages to reduce mortality and morbidity and eventually enable them to become clinically stable [1].

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Nursing Efficiency and Task-Sharing in Tanzania

I-TECH Tanzania led the development of the task-sharing policy guidelines for Health Sector Services approved in 2016 as well as the policy’s operational plan. While task-sharing is a widely known HIV service delivery efficiency strategy, still there is continues gaps between national strategies and actual implementation at the site-level [1,2].

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I-TECH Shares Research at CUGH 2018

CUGH Logo

Logo courtesy of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH):  https://www.cugh.org/.

Representatives from the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) are headed to New York for the 9th Annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Conference. The conference—held on March 16-18, with satellite sessions on March 15—will be co-hosted by Columbia University, Stellenbosch University, and the University of Peradeniya.

Featured speakers include Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet, and Natalie Kanem, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund.

Building on the theme of “Health Disparities: A Time for Action,” staff and faculty from I-TECH will be presenting on the following topics:

  • King Holmes, MD, PhD, founding chair of the Department of Global Health and a co-Principal Investigator of I-TECH’s IAETC award, will join a morning plenary session and discussion about global health disparities. The discussion will be moderated by Director of the Fogarty International Center Roger Glass. Dr. Holmes will be joined for the discussion by Rose Leke, Gairdner Foundation Global Health Committee member and Emeritus Professor at Universite de Yaounde, and K. Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India.
  • Kate Wilson, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, is presenting a poster titled “Evaluation of a New Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) Intermediate Course to Strengthen Public Health Preparedness in Tanzania.” The locally adapted course significantly improved trainee knowledge and skills in field epidemiology, and the evaluation also showed evidence of improvement in data quality and performance at trainees’ workplaces and districts.
  • Lindsay Mumm, MPA, Program Manager, is presenting a poster titled “Creating Relevant Change towards Reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Target with High-Impact Leadership Training – Afya Bora Fellowship in Global Health Leadership.”

In addition to the research being shared at CUGH, I-TECH was represented earlier this month at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston. Nancy Puttkammer, PhD, MPH, presented a poster titled “Multi-Month Scripting (MMS) and Retention on HIV Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) in Haiti.” The retrospective study used data from the iSanté electronic medical record system in Haiti and found promising results that MMS for ART in virally suppressed patients improved retention and engagement in treatment.

 

About CUGH

The mission of CUGH is to build interdisciplinary collaborations and facilitates the sharing of knowledge to address global health challenges while promoting mutually beneficial, long-term partnerships between universities in resource-rich and resource-poor countries, developing human capital and strengthening institutions’ capabilities to address these challenges. Read more about CUGH: https://www.cugh.org/.

About CROI

Established in 1993, The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) was provides a forum for scientists and clinical investigators to present, discuss, and critique their research. The goal of the conference is to provide a forum for researchers to translate their laboratory and clinical findings into tangible progress against the HIV pandemic. Read more about CROI: http://www.croiconference.org/.

Innovative Training Models in Tanzania

I-TECH Tanzania has implemented many pre- and in-service training initiatives and materials, as well as adopted TrainSMART. Continue reading »

Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Tanzania

A training participant takes part in a handwashing exercise as part of a cholera outbreak investigation.

For Tanzania to meet a WHO-specified target of one or more epidemiologists per 200,000 population [1] it will require an additional 250 epidemiologists who are well-trained and geographically distributed in all regions of the country.

To help address this gap, I-TECH, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ministry of Health Community, Development, Gender, Elderly and Children in Tanzania, launched a new Intermediate Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) for mid-level health professionals.

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Differentiated HIV Service Delivery Models in Tanzania

In October 2016, the Government of Tanzania adopted the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Treat All recommendations. The adoption of WHO recommendations, coupled with the Government of Tanzania’s acceptance of the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets represents a significant commitment to the fight against HIV in Tanzania.

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CUGH 2017: Text Messaging and Tablets for Training

On April 6, the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) headed to the 8th Annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Conference in Washington, D.C. I-TECH Zimbabwe presented among many colleagues in the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health, including staff of the department’s E-Learning Program (eDGH), which has worked closely with I-TECH on a number of e-learning and blended learning training programs.

This year’s conference theme was “Healthy People, Healthy Ecosystems: Implementation, Leadership & Sustainability in Global Health,” and I-TECH’s entries highlighted its sustainable workforce development work worldwide.

I-TECH Zimbabwe presenter Vivian Bertman (front) and eDGH presenters — and Zimbabwe co-authors — Leslie Wall and Anya Nartker (back)

I-TECH Zimbabwe’s Vivian Bertman shared results on the use of text messaging as a low-cost, sustainable platform for building health care worker skills and knowledge to care for children and adolescents with HIV.

The research, titled “Health Worker Text Messaging for Training Peer Support, and Mentoring in Pediatric and Adolescent HIV/AIDS Care: Lessons Learned in Zimbabwe,” assessed the use of WhatsApp in a blended learning program. Participants used the app for peer-to-peer learning and support, generating over 300 entries, continuing discussions after course completion, and creating spin-off groups, including a support group for teens.

Highlighting the flexibility of cost-effective e-learning approaches was an oral presentation by eDGH’s Leslie Wall and Anya Nartker titled “No internet? No problem! Creative approaches to cost-effective e-learning delivery in resource-constrained settings.” The research looked at five tablet-based training programs developed by eDGH, in partnership with I-TECH, and delivered in Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

For participants, time spent off the job decreased from four days to less than one day, and within training programs that used text messaging to keep learners engaged, all participants finished in the time allotted. The team plans to expand learning activities and incorporate additional real-time interactions via text-message-based discussion groups or added face-to-face interactions.

Caitlin O’Brien-Carelli

Caitlin O’Brien-Carelli, an MPH graduate from the UW Global Health program, explored additional sustainable training models. O’Brien-Carelli presented her MPH thesis work on behalf of I-TECH: “Training Healthcare Workers on the Use of Electronic Medical Records in HIV Clinics in Kenya: An Evaluation of Three Training Models.”

During I-TECH Kenya’s first years of training health care workers to use the KenyaEMR system, the team adjusted its training from 5 days to 3 days, and moved the training from off-site to on-site, to increase sustainability and maintain effectiveness. Results confirmed that with the adjustments, training quality was maintained, more people in more facilities were trained, and costs were reduced significantly.

Detailing innovations on the operations front, I-TECH HQ Managing Director Rob Lindsley presented at a conference satellite session titled “Global Operations 2017: Tools for Faculty & Administrative Leaders.” Lindsley’s presentation, “It’s About How Hard You Can Get Hit and Keep Moving Forward: Global Support and PLC Registration in India,” outlined I-TECH’s complicated, creative pathway to country office registration in India.

 

Tablets Help Tanzanian Health Care Workers Upgrade Skills

Students in Kilosa, Tanzania, try out the new tablet app.

Students in Kilosa, Tanzania, try out the new tablet app.

In November 2014, the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) launched a program that allows practicing Clinical Assistants to upgrade to the level of Clinical Officerthe first MOHSW distance learning program in Tanzania to use tablet computers to deliver medical course material.

The International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) and the University of Washington Department of Global Health’s e-learning group (eDGH) collaborated with the MOHSW on the In-Service Programme for Ordinary Diploma in Clinical Medicine, a blended distance learning program.

Credential upgrades expand the range of health care services that these practitioners can provide, including care and treatment of HIV and AIDS. They are also expected to have a positive impact on retention of healthcare workers. The use of tablet technology makes these upgrades more convenient and accessible.

“Working students need learning that will not take them off their workstations for relatively long periods of time,” says Dr. Fabian Mghanga, Principal of Mtwara Clinical Officers Training Center. “Being appropriate to their situation and context, this tablet e-learning [program] provides answers to their demands.”

Support for this project was provided through the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Programmatic oversight was provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Tanzania.

A comprehensive educational experience

Sixty-five students have enrolled in the inaugural cohort.

Sixty-five students have enrolled in the inaugural cohort.

I-TECH has worked with the MOHSW since 2010 to redesign the Clinical Officer upgrading program to align with current clinical guidelines and competency-based training approaches. Sixty-five students, based at health facilities throughout the country, have enrolled in the inaugural cohort, at three Clinical Officer Training Centers based in Kilosa, Mafinga, and Mtwara. Scale-up to additional training centers is planned for next year.

The new two-year Clinical Officer upgrading program incorporates three modalities: self-paced learning using interactive e-learning materials on tablet computers, face-to-face classroom activities and instruction, and hands-on practical training in clinical settings.

Upon completion of all course requirements, students will earn a Diploma in Clinical Medicine after achieving a passing mark on the National Qualifying Examination.

An app for self-directed learning

Learning materials for the  In-Service Programme for Ordinary Diploma in Clinical Medicine.

Learning materials for the In-Service Programme for Ordinary Diploma in Clinical Medicine.

I-TECH and eDGH instructional designers and e-learning specialists collaborated with the MOHSW to design a digital textbook application for the Android platform. Students will complete e-learning modules using this app during self-study periods.

The app is designed to enhance self-directed learning by embedding interactive quizzes, anatomy tutorials, and other learning exercises into the course text. It also includes full-color photos and videos that are not available in the traditional residential training program.

MOHSW and training center representatives designed the course schedule and clinical rotation plan, provided clinical review, app testing, and assisted in the design of learning exercises.

“This modality of learning is quite amazing,” says Dr. Mghanga. “Our students can learn almost anything, wherever they are, at their own time and pace, yet feel they are no less [informed] than the on-campus students.”

Preparing for sustainability

In preparation for the official launch, I-TECH officially handed over all teaching and learning materials, including a donation of 73 tablet computers, to the Human Resource Development Department of the MOHSW. Tablets were distributed to students and faculty at each participating training institution.

I-TECH and the MOHSW conducted a faculty orientation to prepare principals and instructors at each training institution to successfully facilitate a distance learning program. In turn, training center faculty conducted student orientations at each site during the first face-to-face session.

In the coming weeks, the MOHSW and I-TECH will orient distance education mentors based near students’ homes, who will support students during practical rotations.

I-TECH will evaluate the first year of course implementation, and results will inform future scale-up and transition planning with the MOHSW to help ensure a sustainable program. To further support sustainability, the MOHSW has established a revolving fund to purchase tablets for future student cohorts.