mEduText: A Case for Mobile Continuing Medical Education in Uganda

Rural healthcare workers do not have access to and therefore cannot implement the newest lifesaving methods for the care, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, resulting in thousands of avoidable deaths each year throughout the developing world. These rural healthcare workers, particularly mid-level cadres such as nurses and lab technicians, do not have the resources to travel to training locations nor do their facilities have the personnel to support many workers leaving for traditional onsite training. In addition, the current onsite post-training support is often times costly and inefficient. Yet, the World Health Organization recommends continuing mentorship via face to face training, telephone calls, teleconferencing and internet based approaches.[1] As such, the following research was conducted from January to June 2012 to assess new forms of post training support for rural healthcare workers in Uganda using computer and mobile phone based learning.  Participants were assessed based off of their evaluation of children who attend the ART clinic, the overall facility performance following national guidelines and their use of computer and mobile phone based tools. The project shows that computer and mobile phone based learning produces similar knowledge retention and clinical outcomes as traditional face to face mentorship, despite the lack of internet access and reliable electricity. However, the mobile phone based tools had dramatically more recorded usage as computer viruses and inaccessibility hampered the use of computer based tools. This research concludes that while this project is only a case of mobile learning for continuing medical education of healthcare workers, it highlights significant lessons that could be scaled to a larger national or international project, including the use of healthcare workers own basic mobile phones, the potential for healthcare workers to network with each other via mobile phone and the roll of call centers to support this process, and the interest of healthcare workers to engage in mobile learning.

[1] WHO. (2005). WHO recommendations for clinical mentoring to support scale-up of HIV care, antiretroviral therapy and prevention in resource-constrained settings. Pg 34. Retrieved on 25 May 2012 from


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