HIV/AIDS has been a leading cause of death in South Africa for a while now. The South African National HIV Survey in 2008 estimated that 10.9% of all South Africans over 2 years old were living with HIV. In 2002 and 2005, this figure was 11.4% and 10.8% respectively. The people of South Africa have identified social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and the Government’s reluctance to bring the crisis into the open to be tackled as one of the major reasons the country has such statistics for HIV/AIDS.
A new approach is necessary if effectual results are hoped to be achieved in that regard. So according to a report on AfricanScienceNews, Clinical Care Options (CCO) announcing that it is developing a new program to support South African physicians and nurses in the management of HIV-infected and HIV/TB-coinfected patients is surely a welcome development and brings much hope with it. The new interactive digital training and certification program called ‘inPractice Africa’ will provide training for HIV nurses and physicians.
CCO is a leader in the development of innovative technology, print, and live medical education programs that reach clinicians in 200 countries around the world. “This public-private partnership fits well with PEPFAR’s efforts to increase the number of healthcare professionals, improve their retention in Africa and support task shifting to nurses and other healthcare workers,” said Charles Holmes, MD, Chief Medical Officer of PEPFAR. “We are looking forward to seeing firsthand how this model that includes innovative technology and African curricula can contribute to HIV education, training, and support clinicians in a variety of practice settings.”
CCO has been creating innovative HIV educational programs for more than 20 years. These programs have been used in more than 200 countries to improve the quality of care and health outcomes in HIV-infected individuals.
The program is made possible by a Public Private Partnership Grant from USAID and grants from Abbott (ABT), Gilead (GILD), Janssen (JNJ) and Merck (MRK) pharmaceutical companies. Importantly, inPractice Africa will be developed in cooperation with two leading South African organizations involved in HIV/AIDS medical education: the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD).
inPractice Africa will be available in several forms including online, mobile (for smartphones and tablet computers that are gaining in use among healthcare providers in South Africa), and a version for PCs without an Internet connection. The program will provide structured educational modules that are certified for South African continuing professional development credits with integrated, easy-to-search reference content that facilitates decision making at the point of care.