Continuing Distance Education: A Capacity-Building Tool for the De-isolation of Care Professionals and Researchers

Auteurs : Cheikh Oumar Bagayoko, Caroline Perrin, Marie-Pierre Gagnon, Antoine Geissbuhler

BACKGROUND: There are large disparities in access to health-care professionals (HCP) in low-income African countries, leading to imbalanced and suboptimal health delivery. Part of the difficulty is recruiting and retaining care professionals to work in isolated settings.

AIM: To evaluate the impact of distance continuing education as a way to build capacity, increase satisfaction and enhance the performance of care professionals in these isolated health-care facilities.

SETTING: Care professionals using RAFT (Telemedicine Network in French-speaking Africa) in isolated care facilities.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Within RAFT, an organizational framework and computer-based tools have been developed and evolved to provide useful, qualitative, applicable training material.

PROGRAM EVALUATION: The activity, satisfaction, perceptions and impact of RAFT on remote health-care workers are being monitored. RAFT’s potential to improve the recruitment, satisfaction and retention of care professionals in remote settings is widely recognized; however, the actual impact on the performance and quality of care remains to be demonstrated.

The World Summit on the Information Society3 in 2000; graduating medical students from the Bamako University Medical School asked, “How will we keep learning once we start practicing medicine and leave the capital?”4 Several recent studies highlight the potential of information and communication technology (ICT) to address this challenge, particularly in rural areas and isolated settings.5–7 Recognizing this potential, the Geneva University Hospitals developed the telemedicine network RAFT: Réseau en Afrique Francophone pour la Télémédecine (RAFT).

This article describes our experiences in developing, deploying and evolving a distance continuing education andtelemedical network for care professionals in Frenchspeaking Africa, and discusses preliminary results of a study that investigates the impact of eHealth tools on the recruitment and retention of HCP in remote places.


References: Cheikh Oumar Bagayoko, Journal of General Internal Medicine ISSN 0884-8734 Volume 28 Supplement 3


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