ADB, Swiss agency to help strengthen public health response to Covid-19

Updated 02 Jul 2020

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Training programme envisages a rapid capacity development of 4,500 doctors and paramedical staff in critical care management. — Reuters/File
Training programme envisages a rapid capacity development of 4,500 doctors and paramedical staff in critical care management. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank and the Health Services Academy of Pakistan on Wednesday signed an agreement to strengthen public health response to the coronavirus pandemic and to support frontline health workers by providing a national rapid critical care training programme.

The training programme envisages a rapid capacity development of 4,500 doctors and paramedical staff in critical care management and handling of Covid-19 patients in Pakistan’s hospitals and health care centers.

Jointly funded by the ADB and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the initiative also aims to set up a 24/7 telemedicine support system to enable follow-up and critical care supervision for the trainees afterwards. The assistance is being provided under the technical assistance project, ‘Capacity Building of Disaster Management Institutions’, which is co-financed by the SDC with nearly $1 million.

Frontline health professionals, including medical officers, women medical officers, specialists, postgraduate trainees, nurses and paramedics working in different capacities in intensive care units will be invited to join the programme. The training will be delivered in 150 batches with each batch comprising 30 participants.

Vice Chancellor of the Health Services Academy Dr Assad Hafeez and ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang signed the agreement in Islamabad.

“The Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose a major health care challenge to the people and the Government of Pakistan. The training programme being led by the Health Services Academy would help boost the critical care system’s efficiency and the capacity of the health workers in responding to the current emergency situation and future critical care needs,” said Ms Yang.

The basic assessment and support in intensive care programme is based on the course outline developed in 2004 in response to SARS by the University of Hong Kong and has been updated in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The ten-day course involves eight days for pretest, distant learning through course material available via course book, presentation modules, video tutorials, and other online reference material.

In the remaining two days, one day is dedicated for the physical training at the health facilities and one day for the online post course test with certification.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2020