The project will be implemented in select districts within 10 of the 19 regions of Tanzania: Mwanza, Mara, Iringa, Mtwara, Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Lindi, Dar es Salaam, Mbeya and Rukwa. Working with national government, AMREF will build the project around the existing curriculum to upgrade and train nurses, but allowing students to access their learning online. AMREF aims to train 1,000 nurses by the end of the programme and hopes to be able to help spread the innovative approach to other types of training and in other regions.
Experiences of a classroom tutor
“It is amazing how technology can reduce the cost of training and increase the numbers of health workers. Instead of traditional classroom-based teaching, we now have ‘virtual nursing schools’ which have trained over 7,000 nurses in Kenya within the last five years. AMREF, together with partner Accenture, realised that due to cost and accessibility, classroom based training for the registered nurses’ diploma was limited, leaving Kenya with a severe shortage of qualified nurses. A way to keep costs down, and speed up the process, was to use computer-based ‘eLearning’ instead. Unlike traditional training, the programme is flexible, enabling students to learning anytime and anywhere, and without the need to stop working while they study.
I initially joined AMREF as a classroom tutor – and was very surprised to find I was in fact teaching a virtual class! My initial attitude was that it was ‘mission impossible’ – many of these nurses have never even used a computer, let alone used it for studying. However, at the end of the course, they have become tech-savvy to the extent they are now accessing the internet to update themselves on the latest management of conditions they nurse in hospitals. In some situations, they are more up to date than the doctors!
eLearning is a tried, tested and successful model for training health workers. AMREF is now expanding it to other African countries, and integrating mobile phone-based learning into the programme, to help train greater numbers of health workers.”
Micah Matiangi, AMREF Kenya