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AFRICA BUILD at Med-e-Tel

The Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp has presented a first overview of the training program in HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health research, developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) and colleagues from the University of Bamako, from the University of Yaoundé I, and the University of Ghana for the Work Package 6 (WP6) of AFRICA BUILD.

Med-e-Tel is an official event of the International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH), the international federation of national associations who represent their country's Telemedicine and eHealth stakeholders. The two pilot courses developed in WP6 focus on Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) in the field of HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health in clinical care and research. These courses aim at young researchers or clinicians who do clinical research from their daily practice, to provide them with skills to find and assess up-to-date evidence in health care. Nowadays there is more evidence available as well as more opportunities for this evidence to be used in effective interventions to be linked to research questions. The practice of EBM signifies the integration of individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. The benefits of evidence based practice are many-fold: knowledge of latest clinical evidence empowers healthcare workers to make informed decisions regarding optimal care, and empowers health facilities’ workers to demand and/or implement better healthcare interventions. In addition, the use of EBM enables those working with(in) health facilities and programmes in identifying gaps in research and in developing systematic strategies to address these gaps.

The aim of these distance learning pilot courses is to enhance research and education in the above-mentioned fields, via novel approaches and to identify research needs, emanating from the field. This pilot experience, which will be run both in English-speaking (Ghana and Cameroon), and French-speaking (Mali and Cameroon) partner institutions and produce courses for strengthening research methodology and policy. Study material is available for the courses’ participants through the AFRICA BUILD Portal and modules’ content is delivered via recorded DUDAL webcasts.

An important question at the end of the presentation was raised by Dr. Richard Scott, Associate Professor in the Global e-Health Research and Training Program of the Centre for Innovation in Health Technology from the University of Calgary (Canada) about Quality control in distance education, to whom the flow of the content generation and revision has been drafted and made available.