VVOB has been active in the medical education sector in Kenya since the year 2000. This year saw the implementation of a 4 year pilot project in Nairobi Medical Training Centre to establish a Skillslab for the nursing and clinical medicine departments.
About Skillslab Methodology
The Skillslab methodology bridges the gap between theory and practice by means of a patient independent "laboratory" environment where students are enabled to acquire clinical and communication skills on models, fellow students, stimulated patients and on computer simulations, which all offer realistic portrayals of real life situations.
Skillslab Expansion Project
This project was succeeded by a 4 year Skillslab Expansion Project that ran from the year 2004 - 2008.
Within this Expansion project, Skillslabs were established in 24 colleges under the Kenya Medical Training Colleges. Curricula and learning materials were developed and reviewed to support the use of those facilities, and many activities to enhance staff capacity took place. All activities in the projects took place to achieve their overall aim: to improve and keep up the level of clinical competence of the health professionals in Kenya with respect to clinical skills. The curriculums for nurses and clinical officers (“assistant doctors”) were reviewed and the Skillslab methodology is continuously being applied. The trainees now develop their practical skills before they meet the real patients, by using dummies or manikins and “simulated patients”.
From 2008 and further into 2009, the focus on the programme has been on sustainability, as the project was concluded in December 2009.
On the level of training and integration, quite a lot has been achieved. Skillslab training is integrated in the curricula for nurses and clinical officers. Students have access to additional learning materials (procedure manuals, learning guides, and logbooks) and mechanisms to acquire those have been put in place. Mastery of skills is assessed in OSCEs (objective structured clinical examination) after training in Skillslab and the practical examination systems are harmonized. A platform for e-learning is also available that gives trainers and students opportunities to study independently through computer and internet, to offer and consult learning materials.
However, in terms of coordination of future activities, there is still uncertainty about the structures through which KMTC will continue these functions. The several proposals presented over the past year combined with the end-evaluators’ report are now being reflected on to get a clear vision for the future for the benefit of KMTC and other providers in Kenya and the region.