Last updated: 30.05.13

Healthcare staff in developing world to receive e-learning

Thousands of healthcare workers in the developing world are set to receive online training for dealing with life-threatening conditions that come about during childbirth.

An e-learning programme launched at the Global Midwifery Symposium - which took place in Kuala Lumpur at the weekend (May 26th and 27th) - is hoping advanced technology will help to treat women quicker and more effectively.

The first three modules of the scheme were published at the event and were said to deal with haemorrhage, eclampsia and obstructed labour, the complications most likely to bring about maternal death in high-risk nations.

All midwives and healthcare professionals who receive the training will benefit from being able to diagnose and assess patients and understand the medication needed to treat them. Other modules will be available on family planning, newborn care and life-saving.

The online training includes quizzes for learners to use to track their progress and the results of these tests are uploaded on to the internet every time a student goes online.

Geeta Lal, a midwifery advisor for the United Nations Population Fund, said: "These modules will transform the way training is provided to frontline healthcare workers by improving access and by reinforcing the right clinical decision-making skills."

Medical professionals will be able to access the digital tools whenever they like and an in-built content creation toolkit will mean training materials can be in any language.

At present, the online learning programme is being piloted in Ghana and Bangladesh, two countries which are facing shortages in adequately trained healthcare staff. Moving forward, it is expected the new programme will address these skills gaps and ensure mothers going into labour receive the treatment they need.

There are many organisations in the UK that have been working in the healthcare sector for some time taking part in similar projects, one of which is Virtual College in West Yorkshire. 

As well as offering a number of e-modules to NHS professionals, it hosts the Lean Healthcare Academy Awards every year, where it promotes better patient care.