Article Abstract

Mobile-based blended learning for capacity building of health providers in rural Afghanistan

Authors: Syeda Nateela Tirmizi, Shariq Khoja, Scott Patten, Abdul Wahab Yousafzai, Richard E. Scott, Hammad Durrani, Wafa Khoja, Nida Husyin

Abstract

Background: Mobile-based blended learning initiative was launched in November 2014 in Badakshan province of Afghanistan by Tech4Life Enterprises, Aga Khan Health Service, Afghanistan (AKHS, A), and the University of Calgary, Canada. The goal of this initiative was to improve knowledge of health providers related to four major mental health problems, namely depression, psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and drug abuse.
Methods: This paper presents the results of quasi-experimental study conducted in 4 intervention districts in Badakshan for improvement in the knowledge among health providers about depression. The results were compared with three control districts for the change in knowledge scores.
Results: Sixty-two health providers completed pre and post module questionnaires from case district, while 31 health providers did so from the control sites. Significant change was noticed in the case districts, where overall knowledge scores changed from 45% in pre-intervention test to 63% in post-intervention test. Overall background knowledge of pre to post module test scores changed from 30% to 40%, knowledge of symptoms showed correct responses raised from 25% to 44%, knowledge related to causes of depression from overall districts showed change from 22% to 51%, and treatment knowledge of depression improved from 29% to 35%. Average gain in scores among cases was 16.06, compared to 6.8 in controls.
Conclusions: The study confirms that a blended Learning approach with multiple learning techniques for health providers in Badakshan, Afghanistan, enhanced their knowledge and offers an effective solution to overcome challenges in continuing education. Further research is needed to confirm that the gains in knowledge reported here translate into better practice and improved mental health.

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