Public Health & Tropical Medicine

Online Training for the Public Health Workforce – “More Workforce, More Health – A Common Realization Worldwide”

public health

The need for focused knowledge-based training for public health workforce worldwide is a well known paradigm shift in the way skills need gap is being overcome. However, personnel and financial resource constraints within public health bodies often make it difficult for public health practitioners to attend conventional classroom-based training courses. The connectivity and immense functionality offered by the Internet is an increasingly popular tool for offering training to the workforce in the public health arena much in line with the online pedagogical superiority demonstrated in other training domains. There has been an extensive research on the effective attributes and best practices of effective online learning however much of the knowledge disseminated via the internet does not incorporate those to the optimum. One of the major attributes is the constant oversight by mentors and specialists who bring in the most relevant and up to date public health evidence.

James Lind Institute offers an effective distance learning program and training model for public health practitioners, which includes a continuous process for career development. The learning modules are standardized, reviewed and maintained through a continuous quality management. The Public Health, Tropical Medicine and allied programs develop an awareness-level needed for efficient functioning in the field and also focus on proficiency based training modules that address issues related to regulatory and legal responsibilities of public health practitioners. This helps in ensuring compliance in day to day activities of the public health workers in relation to food safety, safe and potable water, hazardous and solid waste handling, wastewater systems, prevention of communicable diseases, public health surveillance, safety reporting, disease prevention, health promotion, emergency preparedness, etc. The robust training modules incorporate what is known about best practices in the field of public health and are delivered online to maximize available resources in the best interests of sustainability.
Well trained and skillful personnel are the backbone of any optimized and efficient public health system. But most of the developing countries face a severe crisis due to shortage in workforce, an obvious brain drain and lack of focused training. An increase in healthcare interventions targeted at reducing maternal and child mortality and managing communicable illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB require highly trained healthcare personnel. In order to achieve the healthcare-related UN Millennium Development Goals, great impetus has to be given to training development and continuous learning. ELearning offers a highly efficient, cost-effective and convenient approach to train a large number of healthcare professionals and to increase quality of healthcare.


Most of the developing nations in the world including African nations struggle to fill their health worker need. The current shortage of public health personnel worldwide stands at 7.2 million and is expected to reach an alarming figure of 12.9 million healthcare workers by the year 2015.


In the maternal and child health function of public health services a greater than 1.5 million health workers, including nurses and midwives, are needed in African nations. Compounding to the problems in this region is the fact that 24% of the world’s disease burden lies in the African continent.


The only way this skills need gap can be overcome is to make quality training and education available and affordable to the masses. This shall include focused public health training for doctors, nurses, midwives and other allied healthcare workers. The training programs run by most of the international institution are financially beyond the reach of the masses where they are most required.


The James Lind Institute’s Africa Initiative is working to develop highly focused eLearning tools to scale up professional training in tropical medicine, healthcare management, nutrition, maternal, newborn and child health globally.


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