The community health academy, a global health training and advocacy group together with the ministry of health and Makerere University have unveiled a digital training platform for the health workers across the country. Through a mobile application called Ministry of Health Capacity Building Programme, the programme aims to enhance the capacities of health workers in delivering quality services to the patients.
The programme works in such a way that health workers can access the content on the app from any part of the country. Also in situations where internet connectivity is a problem, one person can download the content and share it with others through Bluetooth connection, making it easier to access for all.
Among the contents on the app include Case management guidelines for Covid-19, guidelines on continuity of essential health services during Covid-19 and National guidelines for management of Covid-19.
Officials from the ministry and the partners say more content will be added on the platform for continuity beyond Covid-19 pandemic so that frontline health workers can continue to build their capacities for better health service delivery across the country.
Dr Charles Olaro, the Director, Clinical Services at the ministry of health said the digital platform comes at a time when physical delivery of content to health workers has become a challenge because of the demand for social distancing due to Covid-19. He said as the ministry, they will continue to partner with other stakeholders to provide they can for the health workers during this difficult times.
“This application certainly comes at the right time and we shall continue to add more content on what is already available on the applications,” he said.
Ms Beatrice Amuge, Commissioner for Nursing Services at the ministry said the digital platform will offer an ideal opportunity for the nurses and midwifes who are the first point of contacts for most of the patients who visit health facilities to harness their skills. She said the models already uploaded are use friendly and will help the frontline health workers even in remote areas of the country.
“The strategy is going to be very good. It is inspiring to view the models and it is going to be used by a wide range and group of people and is cost effective,” she said.
Kenneth Nyehoora Mugumya, the Last Mile Health Regional Engagement Director East and Southern Africa said while the current content is only Covid-19 related, more others will be uploaded with time to ensure that health workers continue to provide other essential health services like immunisation and other community health programmes.
“The community health academy in partnership with other stakeholders will be able to develop more content, not just Covid-19 related content, but content that focus on the continuity of provision of essential health services. I am excited that the ministry took a leadership in developing this content and that they are still committed in the developing more other contents,” he said.
Mugumya said it is easy to navigate through the app and that the content can be accessed by the any health worker regardless of location, both public and private.
“We are working with Makerere University together with the ministry of health and other partners and we hope this application will reach out to so many stakeholders especially the frontline health workers who need knowledge to provide essential health services to the people of Uganda,” Mugumya said.
“So we do believe with the content that has been developed and approved by the ministry of health, they will be able to utilise this content and reach out to different kinds of health professionals and we do believe that this is a great opportunity for the health workers not only in government health facilities, but also private health facilities to access information that they need to provide services to the community,” he added.
Dr William Worodria, a senior consultant and head of case management at Mulago National Referral Hospital said with the emerging threats posed by Covid-19, trainings become a very important component of daily activities of the health workers in the country. He said the development of the app will help the frontline health workers to improve their capacities to deliver quality health services to the people across the country.
“Traditionally, health workers would have trainings based on known facts, but now the emergence of Covid-19 presents a new challenge where physical meetings are kept at minimal. The introduction of the new app will go a long way in addressing the challenges posed by the Covid-19,” he said.
How the capacity building app works
A health worker will first download the app and create and account to log in. after loggin, the user can navigate through the content and access what information he or she wants at no cost. Where internet is a problem, one person can download content and share with colleagues through Bluetooth. Currently the app works on android phones, but the developers say plans are under way to make it accessible to other operating systems.