On September 2, 2019, Dr. Manoj Thomas, President of TWB, and Dr. Vera Sistenich, an Emergency Medicine physician with HandUp Congo, spoke to the Sydney Development Circle about “Knowledge Translation” (KT). The World Health Organization defines KT as: “the synthesis, exchange, and application of knowledge by relevant stakeholders to accelerate the benefits of global and local innovation in strengthening health systems and improving people’s health”.
TWB works in the nonprofit sector under the scope of KT via our Continuing Medical Education on Stick (CMES) Project. It provides health practitioners in remote regions access to up-to-date CME using novel delivery methods, which do not depend on fragile infrastructure. This is assumed to translate into improved clinical practices, self-esteem, and patient outcomes.
However what is the price paid for any intervention when for every action there is a reaction. Dr. Manoj explains, “Given that we have technologies to assist with learning, the real question is about Knowledge Translation and ethical dilemmas around it. However, in reality, there are three barriers: political, cultural/social, and financial constraints.”
In the case of the CMES Project, introducing a product which doesn’t depend on local infrastructure points to the governments deficiencies in providing basic services such as electricity and Internet; a cultural consideration in the DRC is that junior doctors taught a specific medical or surgical technique by the senior doctors are unlikely to contradict their superiors and therefore the introduction of up-to-date CME which challenges long-held beliefs can cause staff internal conflict; and a health practitioner may want to use a product but doesn’t have finances for a smartphone or access to a computer.
We strive to recognize the pros and cons of each CMES Project we launch by working with; local practitioners to identify needs and challenges; local partners engaged in similar work; and local Ministries of Health.
What disruptive consequences have you experienced through your knowledge sharing? What was the relevant ethical issue? Share your story in the comments and help us all understand and work better.