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      Using low-cost Android tablets and instructional videos to teach clinical skills to medical students in Kenya: a prospective study

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          To assess the feasibility and impact of using a low-cost Android tablet to deliver clinical skills training to third-year medical students in Kenya.


          A prospective study using a low cost tablet called ‘connecTAB’, which was designed and manufactured specifically for areas with low bandwidth. Instructional video tutorials demonstrating techniques of cardiovascular and abdominal clinical examinations were pre-loaded onto the tablet.


          Maseno University School of Medicine, Western Kenya.


          Fifty-one third-year medical students from Maseno University School of Medicine were subjects in the study. Twenty-five students were assigned to the intervention group and 26 to the control group.

          Main outcome measures

          At the start of the study, students from both groups completed an Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) of the cardiovascular and abdominal evaluations. Students who were allocated to the intervention group then received the connecTAB, whereas students in the control group did not. After a period of three weeks, students from both groups completed a post-study OSCE for both the cardiovascular and abdominal evaluations.


          There were significantly higher improvements in the scores for both cardiovascular and abdominal examinations ( p < 0.001) within the group who received the e-tablets as compared to the control group.


          The study suggests that access to connecTAB improves clinical education and efficacy and holds promise for international training in both medical and allied healthcare professional spheres in resource-limited settings.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Motivation and retention of health workers in developing countries: a systematic review

          Background A key constraint to achieving the MDGs is the absence of a properly trained and motivated workforce. Loss of clinical staff from low and middle-income countries is crippling already fragile health care systems. Health worker retention is critical for health system performance and a key problem is how best to motivate and retain health workers. The authors undertook a systematic review to consolidate existing evidence on the impact of financial and non-financial incentives on motivation and retention. Methods Four literature databases were searched together with Google Scholar and 'Human Resources for Health' on-line journal. Grey literature studies and informational papers were also captured. The inclusion criteria were: 1) article stated clear reasons for implementing specific motivations to improve health worker motivation and/or reduce medical migration, 2) the intervention recommended can be linked to motivation and 3) the study was conducted in a developing country and 4) the study used primary data. Results Twenty articles met the inclusion criteria. They consisted of a mixture of qualitative and quantitative studies. Seven major motivational themes were identified: financial rewards, career development, continuing education, hospital infrastructure, resource availability, hospital management and recognition/appreciation. There was some evidence to suggest that the use of initiatives to improve motivation had been effective in helping retention. There is less clear evidence on the differential response of different cadres. Conclusion While motivational factors are undoubtedly country specific, financial incentives, career development and management issues are core factors. Nevertheless, financial incentives alone are not enough to motivate health workers. It is clear that recognition is highly influential in health worker motivation and that adequate resources and appropriate infrastructure can improve morale significantly.
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            E-learning in medical education in resource constrained low- and middle-income countries

            Background In the face of severe faculty shortages in resource-constrained countries, medical schools look to e-learning for improved access to medical education. This paper summarizes the literature on e-learning in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), and presents the spectrum of tools and strategies used. Methods Researchers reviewed literature using terms related to e-learning and pre-service education of health professionals in LMIC. Search terms were connected using the Boolean Operators “AND” and “OR” to capture all relevant article suggestions. Using standard decision criteria, reviewers narrowed the article suggestions to a final 124 relevant articles. Results Of the relevant articles found, most referred to e-learning in Brazil (14 articles), India (14), Egypt (10) and South Africa (10). While e-learning has been used by a variety of health workers in LMICs, the majority (58%) reported on physician training, while 24% focused on nursing, pharmacy and dentistry training. Although reasons for investing in e-learning varied, expanded access to education was at the core of e-learning implementation which included providing supplementary tools to support faculty in their teaching, expanding the pool of faculty by connecting to partner and/or community teaching sites, and sharing of digital resources for use by students. E-learning in medical education takes many forms. Blended learning approaches were the most common methodology presented (49 articles) of which computer-assisted learning (CAL) comprised the majority (45 articles). Other approaches included simulations and the use of multimedia software (20 articles), web-based learning (14 articles), and eTutor/eMentor programs (3 articles). Of the 69 articles that evaluated the effectiveness of e-learning tools, 35 studies compared outcomes between e-learning and other approaches, while 34 studies qualitatively analyzed student and faculty attitudes toward e-learning modalities. Conclusions E-learning in medical education is a means to an end, rather than the end in itself. Utilizing e-learning can result in greater educational opportunities for students while simultaneously enhancing faculty effectiveness and efficiency. However, this potential of e-learning assumes a certain level of institutional readiness in human and infrastructural resources that is not always present in LMICs. Institutional readiness for e-learning adoption ensures the alignment of new tools to the educational and economic context.
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              The health worker shortage in Africa: are enough physicians and nurses being trained?

              OBJECTIVE: To estimate systematically the inflow and outflow of health workers in Africa and examine whether current levels of pre-service training in the region suffice to address this serious problem, taking into account population increases and attrition of health workers due to premature death, retirement, resignation and dismissal. METHODS: Data on the current numbers and types of health workers and outputs from training programmes are from the 2005 WHO health workforce and training institutions' surveys. Supplementary information on population estimates and mortality is from the United Nations Population Division and WHO databases, respectively, and information on worker attrition was obtained from the published literature. Because of shortages of data in some settings, the study was restricted to 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. FINDINGS: Our results suggest that the health workforce shortage in Africa is even more critical than previously estimated. In 10 of the 12 countries studied, current pre-service training is insufficient to maintain the existing density of health workers once all causes of attrition are taken into account. Even if attrition were limited to involuntary factors such as premature mortality, with current workforce training patterns it would take 36 years for physicians and 29 years for nurses and midwives to reach WHO's recent target of 2.28 professionals per 1000 population for the countries taken as a whole - and some countries would never reach it. CONCLUSION: Pre-service training needs to be expanded as well as combined with other measures to increase health worker inflow and reduce the rate of outflow.

                Author and article information

                JRSM Open
                JRSM Open
                JRSM Open
                SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
                01 August 2016
                August 2016
                : 7
                : 8
                [1 ]Newcastle University Medical School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE2 4HH, UK
                [2 ]Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
                [3 ]Division of Global Health and Human Rights, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA
                [4 ]Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
                [5 ]Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
                Author notes
                James O’Donovan. Email: jamesodonovan@
                © The Author(s) 2016

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(

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                clinical examination, mhealth, e-learning


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