Academics from the University of Plymouth’s Global Health team have secured funding for a new digital global classroom that will link up medical and dental students with their counterparts in Rwanda.
Thanks to COVID rapid response funding from the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), the team will be building on its partnership with the University of Rwanda, working with the Rwandan Ministry of Health to consider national needs and workforce demands within educational approaches.
The funding will help to ensure that IT infrastructure is in place in the partner institution and, through these new digital classrooms, students in both institutions will learn from each other, developing new global approaches to educating on the most pertinent healthcare challenges, including COVID-19.
The work follows on from University of Plymouth Global Challenges Research Fund rapid response funding, with leadership from Dr Tara Harrop and Dr Lucy Obolensky, joint leads for South West Global Health Collaborative and MSc Global Health at the University of Plymouth; Dr Chris Oppong, General Surgeon, at not-for-profit organisation Operation Hernia; and Dr Zoë Brookes, Dentist and Clinical Lecturer at the University of Plymouth.
Dr Zoe Brookes said:
“COVID-19 has been the catalyst for rapid adoption of digital technology. It has also highlighted a need for greater understanding of other global healthcare systems, with much for the UK to learn from developing nations."
Dr Tara Harrop added:
“This grant is really well timed and, as well as helping us build on an important international partnership, also allows the development of shared bilateral learning, mentoring and digital approaches to education on health and disease from a global perspective.”
Dr Agnes Gatarayiha, Deputy Head of Dental School at the University of Rwanda, said:
“The partnership with the University of Plymouth has come an the right time for the University of Rwanda and this grant will be one the benefits for students for getting access easily and interaction between themselves though online/virtual education classes or meeting as the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted many physical teaching activities.”