By Chikondi Manjawira

The Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS) and Ekwendeni College of Health Sciences (ECOHS), in collaboration with Amref Health Africa in Malawi have launched a two-year eLearning course for nurse-midwife technician leading to a Diploma in Nursing and Midwifery.

This was revealed in a press statement Amref released on Monday in conjunction with the two colleges which was made available to the Maravi Post.

The statement said the targeted nurse-midwife technicians will become Registered Nurse Midwives after completion of studies

Therefore the technicians will be expected to continue working at their health facilities as they are upgrading to allow the continuity of health service delivery to communities.

Meriam Kalyolyo, Manager for the eLearning Project at Amref Health Africa, said the eLearning course, which is expected to start on June 4, 2018, is a self-paced study method that uses computers and other devices to access content anywhere and anytime.

She said the programme has been proven to be efficient, effective and cost-effective approach to training health workers in Africa and across the globe.

“By design, this e-Learning approach expedites scaling up of a number of learners enrolled in the programme as they are not limited by facilities, infrastructure or instructors in comparison to traditional classroom based learning.

“The programme had come about in response to the critical shortages of health workers, particularly the nursing and midwifery cadre, due to, among other reasons, limited number of existing training slots for these cadres, inadequate resources for training and withdrawal of health care workers as they upgrade their profession,” explained Kalyolyo.

She added: “in each of these centres we have identified clinical mentors and trained them on eLearning methodology and how to best support the eLearning learners.”

The two pilot colleges have also developed a master rotation plan delineating hours set aside for theory and hours set aside for clinical practice.

Depending on the competencies and skills to be achieved, the learner will have to leave their duty station from time to time to meet the clinical requirements as stipulated; in any of the designated health facilities with trained eLearning mentors in collaboration with their supervisors and college tutors, according to Kalyolyo.

There will be eight eLearning resource centres for the programme across the country, namely at Karonga, Rumphi, Chiradzulu and Mulanje district hospitals, Mzuzu, Queen Elizabeth, Kamuzu central hospitals and MCHS (Zomba campus).

The programme is expected to be rolled out to other colleges once it has been evaluated for efficiency and effectiveness.

Currently, the two pilot colleges plan to enroll 40 students each.

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