A workshop to peer review the AFRO EPI prototype curricula for medical and nursing/midwifery schools and the revised MLM modules and hand-outs, was organised by WHO/AFRO in Congo-Brazzaville from 7 to 15 April 2015.
Training needs assessments conducted in various countries during the last decade pointed out several bottlenecks in EPI training at health training institutions. To facilitate the systematic revision of EPI curricula at training institutions, two EPI prototype curricula (one for medical schools and one for nursing/midwifery schools) were developed in 2006 by WHO/AFRO, NESI/University of Antwerp, UNICEF, USAID and Gavi and were revised in 2013/2014. Both prototype curricula are available in English and French. The general objective of the EPI prototype curricula is: "to strengthen the teaching and learning of immunisation within the existing curriculum for pre-service education programmes for medical doctors, nurses/midwives and other health professionals".
The objective of the workshop was to review the EPI prototype curricula for doctors and nurses and the EPI MLM modules to ensure the information is up-to-date with new developments in vaccines and immunisation, to harmonise the content, and develop final versions ready for editing and subsequent dissemination and use. These standardised training materials were revised and pretested during 2013/2014.
The participants of the workshops were divided in two groups: one group addressing the EPI prototype curricula and one group addressing the EPI MLM modules. Each day a plenary session was organised to review progress made and to ensure consistency between both types of documents.
Specific tasks for each group included:
- To ensure strict coherence of reference pedagogical format
- To ensure harmonisation of headings, exercises, figures and tables
- To ensure comprehensive compilation of acronyms
- To ensure comprehensive compilation of updated and appropriate references
- To make propositions of adequate and updated illustrations
- To ensure finalisation of the table of contents of respective reviewed documents
- To ensure harmonisation of Portuguese (only MLM), English and French versions of all documents
Ensure alignment with current immunisation policies and strategies: GIVS/DoV/GVAP, African Regional Strategic Plan for Immunisation
The group reviewing the EPI prototype curricula comprised of six experts from the following institutions: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (Ghana); Kenya Medical Training College (Kenya); JSI (Kenya and USA); WHO (Malawi); and NESI (Belgium). Good progress was made with reviewing and harmonising the content of the respective documents, which are now ready for final editing and subsequent dissemination.
Recommendations were made by workshop participants to scale up the implementation of the revised EPI prototype curricula by: equipping training institutions with updated training materials; systematically organising ToT workshops on the use of the revised EPI prototype curricula; contributing/participating in teaching, field placement and evaluation activities by immunisation partners; developing a dedicated website with updated training and reference materials. The NESI website could play a crucial role in this. At the same time, training institutions are encouraged to allow for adequate time for teaching EPI theory and running practical sessions, while strategies should be developed for more effective supervision of these practical training sessions.