Lesley Anne Long, Director of the HEAT programme and Tedla Mulatu, Project Manager, Human Resources at AMREF Ethiopia provide insight into how the Ethiopia government and implementing agencies evaluated and adjusted a major training programme to make it fit for purpose.
A team led by Dr Rosa Hoekstra of The Open University’s Faculty of Science has been awarded almost $200,000 for autism research in Ethiopia from Autism Speaks, one of the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organisations.
The training is based on learning resources written by Ethiopian health experts with support from the OU’s HEAT (Health Education and Training) programme. Following evaluation learning resources will be revised and new materials integrated into CHW training. The project is likely to have a significant impact on the lives of children with autism and raising autism awareness in one of the most underserved areas in the world.
The co-investigators include Lesley-Anne Long, Director HEAT and Dr Basiro Davey, Deputy Director HEAT (Ethiopia).
Congratulations to Dr Basiro Davey, Deputy Director HEAT (Ethiopia), and Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences who has been made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to health and higher education.
Basiro joined the OU in 1976 after completing a Doctorate in Tumour Immunology. She pioneered the development of the Health Sciences curriculum at the OU, including the multidisciplinary U205 Health and disease, S320 Infectious disease and most recently, SDK125 Introducing health sciences.
She was Health Sciences Awards Director for several years until 2009, leading the development of the OU’s undergraduate and postgraduate modules and awards in this interdisciplinary area.
In her long OU career she has produced hundreds of multi-media educational materials for distance-learning modules in many areas of public health, including immunology, epidemiology, communicable diseases, sexually transmitted infections and cancers.
Basiro is an expert in distance learning pedagogy, recognised by an OU Teaching Award in 2010. From 2009-11 she has been seconded to the OU’s Health Education and Training (HEAT) programme for Africa, as its Deputy Director (Ethiopia), developing training materials and leading intensive curriculum design and writing workshops with Ethiopian health experts and OU colleagues.
This month the 13 Ethiopian HEAT modules are highlighted in the October newsletter of the African Health OER Network. The newsletter reaches out to OER creators across Africa to share new developments and resources.
This is the message of the new DVD. Primarily intended for potential funders and partners, the DVD explains that HEAT is a radical programme created by The Open University to transform the education, training and retention of frontline healthcare workers in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
I am very pleased to announce the launch of our new HEAT website at: http://www.open.ac.uk/heat. Please pass this link on to interested colleagues and institutions.
The new look website will carry the latest information about the programme, keep you up to date with HEAT news, showcase our interactive HEAT Modules now available as Open Educational Resources or OERs in Labspace, and help build our global HEAT community. We hope the new site will enable more people to be aware of our work in Africa.
My thanks go to the many people who contributed their expertise to the development of the new website.
Left to right: Alison Robinson, Joan Armatrading and Lesley-Anne Long.
Three times Grammy nominated singer songwriterJoan Armatrading lends her voice to the new HEAT DVD. Joan is pictured here with the HEAT Director and Programme Coordinator, Lesley-Anne Long and Alison Robinson, after the recent voice-over recording. The DVD explains how HEAT works, why we launched the programme and what help we need to realise its full potential.
A study support meeting in the Tigray Region. Photo by Tedla, Training Coordinator, AMREF.
In early April the pilot for the Level-IV Health Extension Upgrading Programme started in the Tigray Region. Since then the 44 students in the pilot cohort have completed the Antenatal Care (ANC) Module and are about to start their 15 days of related practical skills training. The ANC Module has been well received by both the students and their tutors.
AMREF is providing financial and other study related support for the pilot in the Tigray Region. For example, AMREF is hoping to sponsor a weekly 30 minute local language radio programme to provide additional student support.
There are 1238 health extension workers currently employed in the Tigray Region. This pilot is expected to be evaluated following completion of the first 3 or 4 modules so that a decision can be taken about selecting the next cohort of students. It is anticipated that the next cohort will be larger than the pilot cohort.
The Open University and the University of Southampton are currently exploring a potential partnership, to create a nutrition programme for health workers, based on open educational resources that can be delivered as face to face, distance learning or e-learning in Africa. The proposal builds on the expertise and experience in both organisations in the field of nutrition education and training and delivering international programmes with partners in Africa.
There is a clear and urgent need for basic education and capacity building to address the critical nutrition issues in Africa to help meet the Millennium Development Goals in the next four years and to improve the health of populations beyond 2015. Critical areas to focus on include effective management of severe acute malnutrition, proactive nutrition data collection and analysis, and the planning and management of effective supplementary and targeted feeding programmes.
The University of Southampton has significant experience in terms of its international experience in the field of nutrition in developing countries and in delivering programmes with practical application on the ground, including at postgraduate level. The Open University’s HEAT team has been working with nutrition experts in Ethiopia to create a distance learning Nutrition Module of around 35 hours of learning, which is published under a creative commons licence – so it is free for anyone to access, use, and adapt to meet local needs. Both organisations have extensive networks with academics, practitioners and organisations working in the field of nutrition education in developing regions.
Although discussions are still at a fairly early stage, both institutions are keen to secure funding for the development of a nutrition programme aimed at up-skilling nurse practitioners in key aspects of nutrition education, planning and management. Working with African nutrition experts and educators, the University of Southampton and the OU will support the development of up-to-date, relevant and urgently needed learning resources. The programme team will draw on and adapt existing resources developed by the OU’s HEAT team and the University of Southampton to create a set of open educational learning resources which can be integrated within existing programmes in Africa as well as contribute to new pathways for continuing professional development. All of the resources will be developed as distance learning materials, which can also be delivered as part of face-to face teaching programmes.