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.
Dr. Manoj Thomas, TWB Co-founder and President, works at the University of Sydney Business School. He is in the perfect location to expand CMES and CMES-Pi in the Oceania Region this fall.
Presently the CMES Project is in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Somoa, Tonga and Cook Islands. The doctors and nurses are sharing a limited number of thumb drives. More doctors and nurses working in these remote islands will receive thumb drives and the major hospitals will have CMES-Pi installed.
Meet Dr. Vonetta George who works at Mount St. John’s Medical Center (MSJMC) in Antigua. Dr. Vonetta works in all critical care areas of the hospital including supervising the 15 doctors and 2 dozen+ nurses in the Emergency Department.
Antigua is located in the West Indies, a Leeward Island in the Caribbean. Mount St. John’s serves the population of Antigua and also Barbuda. Working on an isolated island directly affects the doctors and nurses ability to access current continuing medical education in a cost effective manner. Dr. Vonetta was the gail force hurricane behind getting the CMES-Pi Project installed in her hospital. MSJMC installed a CMES-Pi in June last year. Using our smart phone apps the staff can look up CME current practice topics at bedside. The CME is provided by our partner Emergency Medicine Reviews and Perspectives. The PDF files provide helpful bullet points and take seconds to read. The MP3 files are providing topics for weekly group CME conferences and discussions. The CMES-Pi Project directly impacts access to CME for 101 doctors and 179 nurses at the hospital. Thank you Dr. Vonetta!
Who Knew? The first inhabitants were the Siboney, who can be dated back to 2400 BCE. Arawaks settled subsequently, around the 1st century CE. The Caribs arrived later, but abandoned Antigua around the 16th century, due to the shortage of fresh water. Christopher Columbus sighted the larger island in 1493, and named it after a church in Seville, Santa Maria de la Antigua. (Commonwealth)
Dr.Mereoni Voce from Labasa Hospital at the DevelopingEM Conference in Fiji.
DevelopingEM is a partner of Techies Without Borders. DevelopingEM is a nonprofit corporation from Australia with a model to promote and develop Emergency Medicine globally through collaboration. Last December Dr. Deb was invited to speak at their sixth conference in Fiji. Each conference is designed to deliver excellent emergency medicine and critical care content. Not only is the conference for practicing EM specialists but the model brings local health providers to the conference supported by the conference fees and contributions. They encourage global collaboration between countries where EM is developing and gaining momentum as a specialty.
DevelopingEM is heading to Cartagena, Colombia for their seventh Emergency Medicine and Critical Care conference. Consider joining them in March 2020 for a chance to support this forward-thinking team.
Glucometer. Courtesy Wikicommons.
Once a month I will comment on the Rural Medicine podcast from EM:RAP. It’s exciting to read CME that can be applied globally no matter where you live or what resources you have at hand. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) In The Village by Vanessa Cardy MD and Stuart Swadron MD can be found in the February 2019 EM:RAP podcasts or take a quick read of the PDF for bullet points.
The question of the month? How do you manage DKA when you don’t have access to labs?
Urine dip strip. Courtesy Wikicommons.
And…is the urine ketone strip a good test?
The Techies Without Borders team thanks everyone who donated, sent words of encouragement and shared our Go Fund Me page on their social media. We raised $2000 USD in two weeks.
The funding supports installation of CMES-Pi units in Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Makerere University Hospital, Uganda; Mount St John’s Medical Centre, Antigua; Victoria Hospital, St. Lucia; Timmy Global Health (TGH) partner clinics in Quito, Santa Domingo, and Tena, Ecuador; and USB drives TGH’s Guangaji Clinic, Ecuador.
Who Knew? TWB slowly formed as two university professors, Dr. Manoj Thomas and Dr. Yan Li, along with their graduate students worked on social-driven educational IT projects for their studies. A mutual friend invited Manoj to meet her mom, Dr. Debra Stoner. Over dinner…Manoj and Deb formed a friendship based on mutual respect and their passions to bring education to those with limited access…CMES was born and in 2018 TWB incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit corporation. We are committed for the long haul.