Faculty at Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, SONAM, have launched a drive to enhance the skills of over 10,000 nurses, midwives and lady health visitors, LHVs, across Pakistan who are delivering care to COVID-19 patients in intensive care and high dependency units.
The programme will see nursing and midwifery faculty combine e-learning resources and scenario-based virtual simulations to deliver free-of-cost COVID-19 courses until September 2021.
The capacity-building drive’s content will cover five areas: infection prevention and control, management of COVID-19 patients in critical care settings, management of human and material resources in a COVID-19 healthcare facility, application of research methodologies for new knowledge generation, and faculty development for online teaching.
Speaking about the objectives of the initiative, Dr Rafat Jan, associate dean, outreach and policy unit at SONAM said: “Developing and supporting a strong healthcare workforce is essential to improving health outcomes. This project will enable nurses, midwives and LHVs to develop knowledge free of charge, enabling them to assist in the delivery of care and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in Pakistan.”
In the first phase of the project, healthcare professionals and nurse and midwife educators, who have access to internet, will be prepared as master trainers who will then go on to train nursing and midwifery staff in their respective healthcare settings. In the second phase, participants with limited digital learning resources in the remote areas of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, will be offered access to computers and internet devices to take part in these trainings.
“We have witnessed stark disparities in health and healthcare support add to the burden of COVID-19 in Pakistan,” says Rozina Roshan, nurse manager, department of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at the Aga Khan University Hospital, and a joint member of faculty at SONAM. “These trainings will help build the skills and capacities of healthcare staff in rural and underserved communities.”
Zulekha Saleem, project facilitator and a senior instructor at SONAM shared: “These trainings will create a trickle-down effect and will help in the skill enhancement of thousands of healthcare professionals”. Kiran Mubeen, another training facilitator and senior instructor at the School, noted that it will not only enable our nurses and midwives, who are the backbone of our healthcare system, to manage critically-ill patients but it will also be a great milestone in strengthening the healthcare workforce across the country.
The capacity building drive is being funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid in collaboration with the Aga Khan Foundation.