As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge the world and change everyday life as we know it, training, updating, and supporting health professionals are of the utmost importance. In times like these, virtual tools can be very useful and make a big difference when we need to reach the largest number of professionals in the shortest possible time.
Regarding COVID-19, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, the Pan American Health Organization Virtual Campus for Public Health (VCPH-PAHO) offers several online courses for health professionals. The first three courses available were:
- ePROTECT Respiratory infections: occupational health and safety – 2020 (COVID-19), available in Spanish, English and French.
- Prevention and control of infections (PCI) caused by the new coronavirus (COVID-19), available in Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French.
- Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods of detection, prevention, response and control, available in Spanish, Portuguese, English and French.
The PAHO Office in Brazil was responsible for the translation and adaptation into Portuguese of two of the courses in a short period, as required by the spread of the pandemic. The number of users up until April 22 in the course on emerging respiratory viruses was 151,000, in the Portuguese/Spanish versions; the prevention and control of infections course had 45,000 users, and the ePROTECT course, in the Spanish version, had 21,000 users.
VCPH-PAHO has 20 years of experience in conducting and managing such training. Users participate in a social learning network based on online courses and interactive materials that cover a variety of public health topics.
VCPH regularly offers about 70 courses, including self-learning, supervised courses, open educational resources and other types of teaching materials. It also includes content contributed from nodes in 21 countries in the Region. According to Gabriel Listovsky, VCPH regional coordinator, “as the outbreak continues to evolve, we invite you to follow the Covid-19 page, where courses, reference materials and webinars will be added to guide the health team in dealing with the pandemic.”
According to the director of BIREME, Diego González, “the Center, as part of the team of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH), contributes to this initiative by supporting the dissemination of courses through social media and in the Window of Knowledge on COVID-19, and through social networks. The Center has always had a strong alliance with the virtual campus, with which we keep an open network of educational resources active and, this time, joins this task to which we must all contribute.”
About the VCPH
The Virtual Campus for Public Health is the educational platform of the Pan American Health Organization that seeks to contribute to the development of the skills and competences of health workers, supporting the transformation of public health services and practices in the region of the Americas.
Launched as a pilot platform in 2003, it had its greatest growth and consolidation between 2013 and 2014, when its network had more than 160 public health institutions and approximately 20,000 health professionals completed online courses available in several languages.
In 2020, the VCPH consolidates and marks its presence in the Region, to become the reference virtual platform for the training of public health professionals in the Americas, with more than 1,000,000 enrolled in its courses.