In January this year ICPCN partnered with the Lesotho Ministry of Health to introduce children’s palliative care (CPC) for the first time in that country. Twenty-nine health professionals were trained in basic CPC over a period of five days. They also participated in a clinical attachment in South Africa to see CPC in action. This laid the foundation for further development in CPC to take place in Lesotho.
Recognising the need to increase the number of health professionals trained in CPC in the whole country, right in the beginning of planning it was decided that trainers will be trained to provide further training. From 19 – 22 June, ten health professionals were trained to become trainers. These trainers were drawn from the twenty-nine professionals who were trained in basic CPC.
To ensure equity, the selectors ensured the candidates were from all the regions of the country and from across the multidisciplinary team. There were four nurses, two pharmacists, one doctor, one social worker and a minister of religion. The training took place in Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho.
The course covered the following aspects of training:
- Characteristics of adult learners
- Conducting a need assessment
- Coordination and planning a training course
- Learning styles
- Self directed learning
- The teaching /training cycle
- Course design
- Skills for effective presentation
- Preparing a lesson plan
At the end of the theoretical instruction the participants were given assignments for presentation to practice what they had learned. This created a lot of anxiety but it was interesting to see how well they prepared for this, particularly their role play to demonstrate the breaking of bad news.
On evaluating the course, participants said their skills improved from poor to good and those who had some skills and experience in training prior to the training, from good to very good. A pharmacist, who is now a lecturer at the university, said he was very grateful to have undergone the course because as a scientist he was asked to be a lecturer but did not possess the skills of teaching. He felt his newly acquired skills will help his students understand the study content much better as his presentation will improve significantly.
Before leaving the training centre it was important to plan on how the training will be rolled out countrywide. Action plans were developed by participants for the three regions and were to be approved by the Ministry of Health. ICPCN will provide technical assistance to the professionals as they implement their training plans in their regions.
The training course ended on a high note when participants received their certificates, presented by the ICPCN trainer and the Director of Non-communicable Diseases from the Lesotho Ministry of Health.