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Training & Education

A major obstacle in the provision of adequate cancer care in Africa is the lack of trained health care professionals. AfrOx will facilitate the coordination, commissioning and development of educational training programmes, in partnership with established international cancer institutes and other training and health institutions. It will help establish and implement mentoring and training programmes for African health professionals and scientists and support capacity building partnerships with African institutions. AfrOx will focus on sustainable in-country training and education programmes on a cascade model, whereby African healthcare personnel are trained not only to deliver healthcare services but also to provide initial training to others within the locality.

Cancer Nurse Training Workshops
Nurses have an essential role in the provision of cancer care in Africa and they work tirelessly to look after their
patients. Cancer nurses in Africa are front line care givers: they administer drugs, communicate with the
patients and their families, change dressings and help maintain the dignity of the patient throughout their
treatment or until they pass away. However, these cancer nurses are often overworked, poorly paid and have
low social status; with few career development opportunities. A critical problem is that in countries like Ghana,
Uganda and Malawi, there is no specialist training available for cancer nurses. AfrOx believes that the
provision of specialist training courses for cancer nurses will thus be a key component towards helping to
increase the quality of care available for cancer patients in Africa. However, African health ministries have few
resources to devote towards this. Collaboration and coordination between both the public and private sectors,
health ministries, local and international training institutions and funders is thus required to build sustainable incountry
training programmes to help bridge this gap. The AfrOx Cancer Nurse Training Programme has been
designed to do this. Working in collaboration with the University of Warwick, medical training schools, UICC
(Union for International Cancer Control), and ministries of health, through the first phase of this programme,
AfrOx?s aim is to provide training for 100 nurses involved in cancer care in Ghana, Uganda and Malawi and to
provide a free online training programme that will be of benefit to cancer nurses across Africa.

The primary objective of this programme was to provide specialist training on the basics of oncology nursing.
The workshop was targeted at local nurses who treat cancer patients on a daily basis.. Workshops were held in Uganda/ Ghana and Malawi 2011/2012 There were 150 participants involved in the workshops in Uganda, 100% were nurses.

AfrOx ran a meeting in Jan 2015 for Oncology Nursing in Uganda. The topics covered by the workshop were:
Medical Led Cancer Care Pathway: We toured the Solid Tumour Ward, Outpatient Department,
Lymphoma Treatment Centre and the Radiotherapy Unit. We were shown round the wards by senior
physicians in charge of the ward and the participants were encouraged to talk to the patients and find out
how they arrived in the department.
Patient Experience: Using what was learned from the ward tours and talking to the patients we discussed
the role of the participants in caring for these patients.
Advanced Communication: One of the most important topics of workshop, which is to teach the
participants how to communicate more effectively with their patients.
Innovations in Practice: This session covered the basics of oncology, oncology screening, introduction to
chemotherapy, how to treat the side effects of chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and its side effect.
Cancer Survival: As more breast and cervical cancer patients are surviving in Uganda, we discussed living
beyond cancer and physical therapy techniques used to help patients.
Cancer research: How nurses can conduct their own research within the UCI and publish the results.
Resilient and Effective Health Care Professional: How to physically and psychologically look after yourself
as a healthcare provider in oncology care.

Educating medical students in Africa about basics of oncology, Professor D Kerr an AfrOx co founder, with sponsorship from
Merck's corporate responsibility department, went on ha whistle stop tour of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, where
he spoke to 50-100 medical students in each country about the basics of cancer care.

In November 2015 AfrOx also ran a Clinical Investigator workshop:

The main objective of the program is to train African investigators and develop their clinical research related skills and knowledge.

Target Audience:
- Physicians from all specialties.
- All health care professionals with interest in clinical research.

A course that has didactic sessions and hands-on workshops

Workshop Instructors:
- UK and African Senior Investigators

Workshop Summary:
Day One:
The sessions were didactic with time given for interaction with the participants at end of each lecture.
Dr Renner welcomed the 51 participants to the meeting and then lectures were given by Prof D Kerr, Oxford University; Dr Alfred Yawson, University of Ghana; Dr Mawuli Gyabako, Ghana Health Service and Dr Ernest Kenu, Ghana Health Service.

Talks were given on overview of human protection in Research, Health research currently being conducted in Ghana and why more needs to be done; An overview of what a research project is, what infrastructure need to be in place for quality research to take place in Ghana, how to minimize the risk to participants but the main theme for the workshop was how to design a study with Hypothesis, Literature Reviews and writing a protocol.

Day Two:
Was a mainly interactive day, with the 46 participants being advised by the faculty ( Prof D Kerr, Oxford University; Dr Alfred Yawson, University of Ghana; Dr Mawuli Gyabako, Ghana Health Service and Dr Ernest Kenu, Ghana Health Service) on the best way to develop their research protocols. There were also two morning lectures on Clinical Investigators and Translational Research.

Clinical Workshop Evaluations:
Pre Workshop Evaluation:
Before the workshop we asked the participants to fill out a pre workshop evaluation form to work out what skills they hoped to learn from the workshop, as we could then use this information to tailor the workshop to improve the learning outcomes for the students. The main things the participants wished to learn from the workshop was to improve their proposal writing, development of a study, how to write a literature review, how to analyze data, effective ways to do research, how to use referencing tools, ethical guidance and how to publish an article.
We also asked if any of the participants had been involved in research 30 out of the 51 (58%) participants had been involved in medical research at some point.

Post Workshop Evaluation:

At the end of the workshop, we asked the participants to fill out a questionnaire to evaluate whether they workshop useful; whether it had met their expectations; whether and how what they had learned through the workshop would change their clinical work.
All of the participants completed an evaluation form. The first four questions asked participants to rate what they thought of the course (a-d).  They were asked to score if the content was suitable, if we covered the right topics, if the presentations were clear and understandable and if it the course was taught to a high standard. The scores ratings were: 5 strongly agree, 4 agree, 3 average, 2 disagree and 1 strongly disagree. For these questions we scored 96% to 100% ratings were strongly agree and agree.
The rest of questions (e- g), were written components of the evaluation. We asked what the participants thought was the most important thing they learned from the workshop.  The majority of answers mentioned that the key things they learned were how to improve their proposal writing skills. Other popular responses were, the value of ethics in research, how to design a study, best way to collect data, How best to use referencing tool, best practices in conducting a literature review and how to publish your results. 

79% of the participants were happy with what they learned at the meeting. The other 21% wanted to learn more about how to use specific referencing programs for their final reports.


All the faculty and participants involved thought the workshop went well and that we should conduct the workshops annually.





  • Training and Education Workshops in Ghana, May 2009

    In May 2009, AfrOx organised a training and education workshop on cancer care for doctors and nurses in Ghana. The workshops were led by Annie Young (Director of 3 Counties Cancer Network), Laura Lee (Chief Executive Officer of Maggie's centres) and Vanita Sharma (AfrOx).  They went to Ghana for a week, and ran a two-day workshop in Accra and a two-day workshop in Kumasi. In total, the workshops were attended by 100 peopleincluding oncologists, paediatricians, general nurses, pharmacists, radiologists and haematologists. The workshops covered all aspects of cancer care: early detection, treatment, palliative care, techniques of breaking bad news and a discussion of the myths and stigmas that prevent people coming forward for medical care. The workshops emphasized collaborative discussions, focused on a two-way learning process. As a result of the in depth discussions that ensued, we came away with a much more comprehensive understanding of the problems confronting medical professionals in cancer care in Ghana, and a clearer idea of the strategies that AfrOx should pursue in order to help.

    After the workshops, AfrOx's team met with the Deputy Health Minister and the Head of the Ghana Health Service. They discussed the outcomes of the workshop with them and reiterated AfrOx's commitment to supporting Ghana to improve its cancer services. These workshops enabled AfrOx to conduct a detailed needs assessment about the key training needs which AfrOx could help to support in future.

    For a detailed overview of the findings of these workshops, please click here to read a report from the AfrOx newsletter.