Virtual Learning Benefits Health Information Technicians in Ethiopia

August 2nd, 2021 | Viewpoint

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Human resource limitations have been a major challenge in implementing robust e-health services and realizing a cultural transformation in health information use. Thus, capacity building is a key area of concern when establishing a robust health information system (HIS).

According to the Ethiopian Information Revolution (IR), strengthening the health workforce capacity and workers’ motivation are critical in ensuring implementation of IR initiatives. The increasing size and diversity of the health workforce make it difficult to reach targeted health workers with conventional face-to-face training. In addition, when service providers travel from their workplace to attend training, the implications in dollars, time, and service interruption are significant. As a result, the Digital Health Activity (DHA) is working with the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Federal Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institute (FTVET), and health science colleges (HSC) to implement sustainable capacity building mechanisms through an online platform.

DHA has developed online training for DHIS2, a digital application used in health data collection, transmission, display, analysis, and reporting, and Dagu, a digital platform that creates stock visibility at the lower end of the health system. The DHIS2 and Dagu online trainings can be easily accessed on a personal computer or smartphone, which enables health workers to take the trainings remotely at a time and place that is convenient for them.

As Ms. Saron Alemayehu, an instructor at Harar Health Science College, says, It was an eye-opening experience for me. After taking the Dagu 2 course, I even inquired for information on similar online training, and have taken five additional courses so far.”

After taking the online course, Saron went on to train other Health Information Technicians in Harar city and the Somali region, sharing the knowledge and skills she obtained from the training with other staff. One of the trainings that Saron participated in featured blended learning, where participants review online training materials on their own and attended short, face-to-face discussion and question-and-answer sessions with training instructors. Saron explains: This opportunity has exposed me and others to the benefits of online learning. The accessibility is one of the key benefits, as well as the ability to refer to resources more than once.”

The experience, as Saron describes, has had:. . . a big impact on my whole career trajectory. Before taking this training, my instructors had advised me to pursue a Postgraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Management, but I refused. But after the training, I found Dagu so interesting that I changed my mind and will now be pursuing that field of study.” 

Between March and July 2021, 169 learners completed the DHIS2 eLearning course and 145 completed the Dagu 2 course.

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