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Blog: Multimedia Learning For Health Workers Worldwide – Africa

DVD cover

Chris Williams, Keith Waddell, John Sandford-Smith and Chris O’Callaghan; Produced by Nic Blackwell

Our ‘electronic textbook’ of Ophthalmology, aimed at eye health professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa, is now available on the internet and as a low-cost DVD, thanks to the generous support of the Fred Hollows Foundation, Chalker Foundation for Africa and Ulverscroft Foundation.

The resource is targeted at mid-level eye health professionals, medical students and doctors (non-ophthalmologists and those beginning specialty training in ophthalmology), and contains over 7½ hours of content in seven modules:

  • Measuring visual acuity
  • Assessing the eye
  • Practical procedures
  • Red, painful or irritated eye
  • Loss of vision
  • Eye Injury
  • Prescribing glasses

For reference and further study, the resource also contains an atlas of eye disease (with over 500 photographs covering 85 different eye conditions) and prescribing details for common eye medications. The modules were videoed in sub-Saharan Africa. High-quality illustrations and animations are used to illustrate important concepts, with subtitles and summary boxes to emphasise key points.

The materials were developed by experienced ophthalmologists and specialist multimedia authors, and cover many of the topics in the International Council for Ophthalmology curricula for residents, allied eye health professionals and medical students. The resource has been carefully developed in consultation with trainees, eye health professionals, teachers and independent experts:

  • interviews and focus groups were used to design and shape the resource,
  • the materials were independently reviewed by Dr Susan Lewallen of Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthaimology,
  • drug details have been independently checked by two experienced and qualified pharmacists,
  • the resource has been piloted in the training of Ophthalmic Clinical Officers in Uganda.

The resource has also been shown to improve clinical skills: in a randomised trial in Uganda (at Mbarara University Medical School), students with access to the materials performed significantly better in an Ophthalmology OSCE (an objective test of clinical skills) with a significantly higher pass rate, higher overall score and more stations passed. There was significant improvement in their ability in making a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan, and a particular benefit for lower scoring students.

These new materials are now available on a not-for-profit basis:

The resource would not have been published without many people and organisations: the Fred Hollows Foundation, Chalker Foundation for Africa and the Ulverscroft Foundation (as funders); Ruharo Eye Centre, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre and many other hospitals and clinics in Uganda and Tanzania (who helped with filming); Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Jinja School of Ophthalmic Clinical Officers (who hosted the piloting and trial stages); Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology and International Centre for Eye Health (for advice and support). Particular thanks are due to Richard Le Mesurier and Virginia Sarah (FHF); Baroness Linda Chalker, John Logan and Susannah Baker (Chalker Foundation); Susan Lewallen and Paul Courtright (KCCO); Allan Foster, Claire Gilbert and Sally Parsley (ICEH); Anthony Hall (formerly KCMC); Ronnie Graham and Phil Hoare (IAPB); Amos Twinamasiko, John Onyango, Lisbon Alikari and Simon Arunga (Mbarara University) and to many other people who gave invaluable constructive comment and advice. Most of all, thanks are due to all the patients and professionals who agreed to be filmed.

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