Pavanraj Singh Chana
Conference 2023 Presentation
Use of Digital Technologies to Enhance Capacity Building in Sub-Saharan Africa: The International Cancer Institute Model
Authors and Affiliations
Pavanraj Chana1, Kevin Makori1, Modester Shipuku1, Bonnie Odour1 & Fredrick Chite1
1. International Cancer Institute, Eldoret, Kenya.
Cancer and haematological conditions are public health problems in countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) causing morbidity, disability, mortality and economic hardship. Patients often present with advanced disease and have associated poor outcomes. They are chronic illnesses with long latency periods and treatment intervals. This is due to numerous challenges including poor awareness, adequately disseminated professionals, follow-up channels and lack of locally congruent guidelines. International Cancer Institute (ICI) has tried to address these, especially the lack of untrained healthcare providers and diagnostics, by offering accredited clinical and non-clinical preceptorship courses, virtual tumour boards (VTBs) and digital pathology, through digital technologies to eliminate geographic barriers, promote ease of learning especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and improve provider-to-patient ratios from a new model of capacity building. These emphasize standards of care and promote long-term interaction. The aim of this study was to describe the use of technology for recruitment, conduction and consultive mentorship to enhance capacity for sub-Saharan Africa.
The research was a retrospective descriptive study where quantitative and qualitative data was collected from forms and surveys from 2020-2022. A census non-probabilistic purposive sampling was used where records were recruited, analysed, and diagrammatically processed using a univariate/multivariate approach.
There were a total of 524 registrants for preceptorships and 76,183 for VTBs with mean of 529 (range 28 – 2312) per session. For preceptorships, more than 90% registered for clinical courses. Close to 60% enrolled through social media pages, web-search engines, emails and portal postings. The majority were healthcare workers from different cadres, while others were administrators/advocates/patients/survivors. They were from different countries from SSA. In relation to expected outcomes, more than 90% were met. Many participants also attended/presented cases during VTBs and engaged in tele-consultants.
The high cancer burden requires need for innovative ways to address various care and control components that bridge expertise of specialists. The study demonstrated feasibility to use digital means, and could serve as a guide and/or baseline for the implementation of other initiatives.