Published byAnnette Gerritsen
Published on19 April 2017
A gap has been identified in the continuous upskilling and training of health care providers in South Africa. The consequences of limited budgets, time constraints and low staffing levels in the healthcare industry has resulted in very little ongoing training or upskilling in most facilities. As little as 10 -20% of the workforce in some facilities attend training in a year. This causes a delay in the rollout of new protocols and procedures, and knowledge gaps and skills fade of a health care provider becomes inevitable and goes unaddressed.
Prof Portal Africa (PPA), was born in 2014 when a collaboration was formed between Noordhoff Health (a Dutch company and a market leader in the Dutch Healthcare market), Professional Emergency Care and Cape-Orange Intercultural Connections. The vision for PPA is to establish a Health Learning Network in South Africa using technology that has been developed by Noordhoff Health to provide a learner management system that could provide CPD compliant learning opportunities for all levels of healthcare workers in South Africa and possibly Southern Africa.
PPA is not just e-leaning, it promotes a blended learning approach. This begins with management deciding on what learning would be beneficial for the different levels of staff or a particular department. Some examples of the modules we currently have running are Vital Signs, Basic Life Support, Urine Testing and Analysis, Basic and Advance drug testing and Injections to name a few. The candidate goes on line in their own time, at home or at work and at their own pace to complete a specific module, only when they have successfully completed the theory on line may they attend a practical skills session to either practice this new skill or brush up on an old skill. When they are competent a Work Place Assessor assesses the skill in the classroom or in the workplace. Not all modules require a practical assessment i.e. Ethics. Encouraging evidence from the pilot study has shown that there has been a measurable improvement in the skills of the participants in the program. This has resulted in improved performance and patient management by health care providers.
Future Of PPA
With the involvement of our partners, private and public institutions and other training colleges, PPA plans to increase the library of 30 modules. An Advisory Committee formed by representatives from our partners will steer the process of module development. The committee will also be responsible for quality control and updating of the modules. We plan to have a range of modules developed that addresses unique problems and skills required by the users. The facilities are encouraged to develop their own modules that can be added to the current library of modules for general use or company specific modules for their use only.
We have started the process of obtaining accreditation for CPD points from the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). We will start the same process with SANC once it has been finalized. This will allow participants to earn points while learning, as well as to keep a record of the points.
A learner management system that provides a library of learning opportunities for all our healthcare providers, setting national standards and enabling management to steer the process and keeping an automatic record of the learning and CPD activity is need. PPA is perfectly positioned to provide for this need in the South African health sector.
For further reading on Prof Portal Africa: