A digital toolkit designed to provide a virtual classroom, and which has been used to train health care workers about infection prevention and control in countries affected by Ebola, has been shortlisted for the European Union Health Innovation Award.
Developed jointly by Masanga UK, the Masanga Mentor Ebola Initiative (MMEI) and Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PU PSMD), and funded from donations to the 2014 Telegraph Christmas Appeal, ebuddi© is accessible on a tablet and can be adapted to reflect different cultures and languages.
Using evidence from the field of medical education, ebuddi© is transforming access to infection prevention and control skills for health care workers. It uses the latest advances in simulation, communications and animation to create unprecedented learning opportunities for front line health workers.
The skills taught via ebuddi© not only protect both the health worker and the patient, but also provide safety for families and communities – in turn improving the resilience of local health systems.
Dr Tom Gale, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Skills and Simulation at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, has led the development work from Plymouth. He said:
“ebuddi© is an exciting training tool with immense potential. Ebola outbreaks should not occur if hospitals and health facilities have effective infection prevention and control measures in place - ebuddi© will help them to achieve this.”
Nicholas Mellor of the Masanaga Mentor Ebola Initiative said:
“It’s a great honour to be shortlisted for the prestigious EU Health Innovation Award. ebuddi© is a truly ground-breaking innovation, combining the best practice in healthcare training and the cutting edge of simulated gaming and agile technology. We’ve already seen its effectiveness in West Africa and hope it can be used elsewhere to prevent the spread of the most deadly infectious diseases.”
The news comes soon after Plymouth University was awarded funding of £136,000 from the Health Partnership Scheme (managed by the Tropical Health Education trust) to develop a training programme to help the Sierra Leonean Health Service to fight future outbreaks of viral haemorrhagic fever.
Agile development and co-creation with teams in the frontline of the Ebola response
ebuddi© has been created using ‘an agile approach’ and broadband to allow frontline health-workers determine the best approach and set priorities to ensure compliance with evolving national health policy and protocols. ebuddi© will be readily adaptable to provide agile training in response to outbreaks anywhere in the world, as well as improve the quality of IPC training in the EU.
An evidence-based approach
Researchers from PU PSMD have led a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of this novel approach to training which has already been undertaken by over 350 health-workers in West Africa. Results have shown ebuddi© to have added value compared to traditional workshops and participants’ confidence and skills improve significantly after training with ebuddi©.
Built-in analytics enable unprecedented insight into learning impact, effectiveness of training programmes and priorities for ongoing development, addressing the twin challenges of quality assurance and adaptation to ensure it is faithful to priorities on the ground and the evolving outbreak response strategy and health policy.