A VR project led by Dr Chris Paton has just launched a new set of smartphone app-based training scenarios that help healthcare workers in Africa safely manage and treat cases of children with suspected COVID-19.
Life-saving Instruction for Emergencies (LIFE) is a smartphone-based virtual learning platform that allows healthcare workers to access high quality medical training in low-resource settings. Developed by doctors, nurses and researchers at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kenya and the University of Oxford, the platform has now launched new training scenarios to help healthcare workers in Africa safely deliver care to children with suspected COVID-19.
LIFE allows healthcare workers to enter a realistic 3D virtual hospital on their own smartphones, allowing them to train anywhere, anytime. In low-resource settings such as Kenya, access to simulation training can be difficult and expensive, so using their own smartphones to train could enable more healthcare workers to receive the high-quality training they need to save lives.
Neonatal resuscitation training delivered through the LIFE smartphone app has been rolled out to more than 5,000 healthcare workers through partnerships with medical and nursing schools and professional organisations such as the Kenya Paediatric Association and the Nursing Council of Kenya. This new update to the LIFE app adds three new training scenarios on the management of children with suspected COVID-19.
Conrad Wanyama, a nurse from the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme who led the development of the COVID-19 clinical content, said:
“We have used official WHO guidance to develop a highly engaging training app for healthcare workers in Africa. The COVID-19 scenarios use 3D animations and videos to show how to follow correct infection control procedures to safely and effectively manage children who are suspected of having COVID-19.”
Dr Chris Paton, the lead researcher for LIFE from the University of Oxford, commented:
“Smartphones are now very commonly used by healthcare workers in Africa. After downloading the app for free to their phones, healthcare workers can now train anywhere that is convenient and learn the key steps they need to know to save lives in emergencies.”
Tuti Ng’ang’a, a DPhil student at the University of Oxford, studied the effect of LIFE on healthcare workers’ learning gains. He said:
“There is a considerable learning gain between the first two rounds of learning for healthcare workers that use the LIFE app. My research showed that new approaches to adaptive feedback linked to how healthcare workers spaced their learning could improve learning gains further.”
LIFE project website