UNFPA in collaboration with Jhpiego, an affiliate of John Hopkins University have launched three modules of a new e-learning programme for midwives and others with midwifery skills on key life-saving emergency care functions.
These modules, which were launched at a Midwifery Symposium as part of the on-going third Women Delivery Conference in Kuala Lumpur, will transform the way training is provided to frontline healthcare workers by improving access and reinforcing right clinical decision making skills.
The conference being attended by more than 3000 participants from 150 countries is focusing on themes including the economic and social benefits of investing in girls and women, how to achieve the goal of reaching 120 million more women with voluntary family planning services by 2020; and the need to place girls and women at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda.
It is being organised by Women Deliver, a global advocacy organisation, which brings together voices around the world to call for action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency after the launch, Ms Geeta Lal, Midwifery Programme Coordinator of UNFPA said the body and Jhpiego have developed the content for the training in partnership with Intel and World Health Organisation.
She said technical guidance and review to ensure quality, has been provided by the International Confederation of Midwives, the International Council of Nurses, and the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.
The purpose of these modules is to create high quality, global endorsed, e-learning modules that governments could use for training of health care workers or adapt to local needs in any language.
Whereas Jjpiego, a world renowned international NGO with expertise in capacity building and developing the multi-media content for the e-learning modules, UNFPA would be providing the overall project management, coordination, and implementation.
The programme, which utilises the Intel’s skoool™ platform, is a multimedia content delivery and assessment solution that enables education to take place anywhere, anytime using computers and low cost netbooks.
Ms Lal explained the e-learning modules would deal with three of the most life-threatening complications of childbearing: haemorrhage; prolonged and obstructed labour that at times could lead to fistula and preeclampsia, and eclampsia.
“It’s estimated that enhancing skills of frontline providers in the three areas alone would help prevent roughly 50 per cent of all maternal deaths in countries with high burden of maternal mortality,” she added.
According to her the modules also had built-in quizzes, which could help track the progress of health workers in underrating the training.
The quizzes could be performed offline and the results transmitted via the web whenever the student goes online. Additional modules on life-saving skills, family planning and essential newborn care are in the works.
Ms Lal confirmed that more e-learning modules on life-saving skills, family planning and essential newborn care would be completed by 2014.
UNFPA’s Executive Director, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin said: “From the use of mobile devices to facilitate and improve maternal health care and train midwives, to real time data recording, e-health is a game changer in improving healthcare access, delivery and quality of care.”
He noted that costs are declining, as innovators continue to find new ways to bridge gaps in service, monitor results, get feedback and offer the right solutions specific to low-resource settings.
Dr Osotimehin, however, described mobile communications technology as a “game-changer” in combating maternal mortality, which would affect many women who would otherwise be isolated from care.
Ms Denia Gayle, Deputy UNFPA Country Representative said in an interview that Ghana is one of the two countries where the e-learning pilots training is being conducted.
The other country is Bangladesh.
“These countries, and many others throughout the developing world, are facing acute shortage of competent trainers and training facilities.
“The e-training will enhance access to quality training by larger numbers of health workers, thus addressing critical shortages of health workers,” she added.
She noted that UNFPA is expecting to train thousands of healthcare workers in the developing world to treat life-threatening complications that arise during childbirth, using the new e-learning programme.