ADI targets community health workers and registered nurses in remote PNG, who typically miss out on professional development opportunities in favour of more senior staff.
ADI training employs active, case based and participant-centred learning techniques. The aim is to increase clinical knowledge and improve clinical practice of local health staff.
Participants join in physically, cognitively and emotionally and support and mentor each other. The content of training sessions is engaging and relevant to participants’ own lives and specific challenges. Doctors promote responsibility, confidence and self-esteem as students become responsible for their own learning and recognise their own capacity and self-efficacy.
“We learnt not to try to teach too much, to teach in Tok Pisin as much as possible and to make most of the work practical and case based training. The feedback made it clear that participants loved the interactive group work [perhaps because it] fits in with PNG’s supportive wontok system,” Dr Merrilee Frankish.
A wide range of skilled trainers are used including ADI volunteer doctors, Family planning officers, and program managers from the NIPG Health Education Committee.
ADI identified there was a knowledge gap. Students wanted to learn more about antenatal care and emergency obstetrics; TB, HIV and sexually transmitted infections; clinical diagnosis and assessment; drug therapy; and management of health facilities.
For many participants, standout learning experiences included the chance to interview a tuberculosis (TB) patients and assess treatment options. Students also receive practical sessions in a laboratory on how to prepare and analyse TB sputum test slides. Students also enjoyed the group role plays on family planning and hands-on sessions on maternal health, in which they got to use mannequins to practice emergency birthing techniques and neonatal resuscitation.
“Authentic learning, using simulation such as mother and baby models, is practised all over the world with good retention rates,” says ADI volunteer Dr Merrilee Frankish.
“I learnt how to do RDTs (Rapid Diagnosis Tests) and to give the correct treatment for malaria,” says Rita, a community health worker (CHW) who travelled from her aid post at the southern-most tip of New Ireland to attend.