By Tim Sandle
In many parts of the developing world, especially areas where pathogens pose a significant risk, resources are scarce. To help with medical training, e-learning platforms provide a way forward.
Parts of the developing world face significant risk from mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria; other areas, such as West Africa, have been hit significantly by epidemics like Ebola. In such regions medical supplies are scarce and training and development of nurses, medics and biomedical scientists is expensive. There are other problems too. Medical universities often do not have enough qualified instructors; sometimes there is a lack of access to modern curricula and equipment; and sometimes the programs are not up-to-date in terms of the latest medical practice. Such is the extent of the issue that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4.3 million healthcare practitioners are necessary to make up the global current deficit.
As well as what is available via the Internet (albeit of variable quality), to address some of the resource gaps in training and education, several companies have invested in e-learning platforms, of the type that can be viewed on smartphones or computers. Medical schools are also starting to use e-learning tools such as webcasts and online study aids.
The University of Washington Department of Global Health's e-learning program, eDGH, is referenced in this story.