The World Health Organisation (WHO) has learned the value of offering learning materials quickly in an outbreak that will provide critical information to fight disease and protect lives through the lessons of past emergencies.
These materials must be easily accessible in the languages of frontline responders. The WHO has rapidly developed and delivered two online trainings to support the response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak that are available on the open learning platform, OpenWHO.org.
The free learning resource is available to anyone interested in novel coronavirus on WHO’s open learning platform for emergencies, OpenWHO.org.The platform was established 3 years ago with emergencies such as nCoV in mind, in which WHO would need to reach millions of people across the globe with real-time, accessible learning materials.
High International Interest in Online Virus Training Resources
More than 25 000 people across the globe have accessed real-time knowledge from WHO experts on how to detect, prevent, respond to and control the new coronavirus since the launch of open online training.
The learning team of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme worked with technical experts to quickly develop and publish the online course on 26 January – 4 days before the 2019-nCoV outbreak was declared an international public health emergency.
Approximately 3000 new users have registered for the training every day since its launch, demonstrating the high level of interest in the virus among health professionals and the general public. In addition, more than 200, 000 people have viewed the introductory video to the course on YouTube.
The online courses currently available are:
This course provides a general introduction to 2019-nCoV and emerging respiratory viruses and is intended for public health professionals, incident managers and personnel working for the United Nations, international organizations and NGOs.
Approximately 26,000 people registered within the first 10 days of its launch on 26 January. WHO teams are working to translate the resources into all WHO official languages and Portuguese. Many countries have also initiated translation into their own local languages.
This course includes content on clinical management of patients with a severe acute respiratory infection. Launched on 6 February, it enrolled 3,500 users in its first 24 hours. The course is intended for clinicians who are working in intensive care units in low- and middle-income countries and managing adult and pediatric patients with severe forms of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection, including severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis and septic shock.
More Online Support in Progress
The following online learning courses are also in production in February: an occupational health and safety briefing for respiratory diseases (ePROTECT); an introductory course on Go.Data (an outbreak investigation tool for field data collection); an introduction to laboratory diagnostics and kits; and additional language versions of the published courses.
WHO online training important in times of emergency
The organisation has been investing in learning and training to strengthen preparedness and real-time response to health emergencies.
“Our job is to work with technical health experts to package knowledge using adult learning principles, quickly so that it is most useful to health workers and our staff,” said Heini Utunen, who manages OpenWHO for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme (WHE).
“Our online platform – OpenWHO – is already accessed by users from every country on earth, providing more than 60 courses in 21 languages. Delivering trainings in the local language of responders is really important, especially in an emergency”.