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ACTMalaria Course Teaches Quality Improvement in Western Pacific
by Cynthia Young, Senior Writer

Ms. Aungkana Saejeng, Thailand, presents her team's in-class exercise, Task Analysis for Preparing a Malaria Slide. Photo by Thada Bornstein

Ms. Thada Bornstein Training Director of the Quality Assurance Project, recently served as advisor for the international ACTMalaria course in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in June. The hands-on course, Transfer of Training Technology, was supported by the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region (WHO WPRO) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The goal of the training was to develop country teams who will be able to design, develop, conduct, and evaluate training courses, using the principles of Instructional Design. The curriculum was designed and conducted by a team from the Vector-Borne Disease Branch of the Malaysia Ministry of Health. Participants were service personnel from malaria or vector-borne disease units whose job responsibilities include designing curricula and conducting training courses.

Due to the recent outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), only seven of the 11 ACTMalaria member countries (Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, and Vietnam), were represented. The 23 participants included physicians, health education officers, entomologists, and medical laboratory technologists.

A field trip to the District Vector-borne Disease Branch to conduct a class exercise: Training Needs Assessment. Photo by Thada Bornstein

During this course, country teams developed a project proposal and several components of a curriculum to be implemented during the next six months. Using QAP’s 4-step problem solving quality improvement approach, they determined that their problem was due to a lack of knowledge and skills, thus requiring training or other learning activities as the solution. They then proceeded with a training needs assessment (audience analysis and task analysis) and objective writing. For missing data, they were to describe plans to obtain it upon return to their country. This is the second year this course has been held. The course is tailored to malaria, yet this generic course can easily be customized for any service sector.Dr. Brian Doberstyn, Chief of Infectious Diseases, WHO WPRO, visited the sessions and expressed his high regard and support for the course. The Malaysian team would like to seek funding to follow up participants from the past two years to evaluate the transfer of their new skills to the workplace. 

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The Quality Assurance Project (QAP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) under Contract Number GPH-C-00-02-00004-00.