Strengthening and scaling up medical simulation-based interventions to save lives in Africa
Neonatal and maternal mortality remain major challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. A skilled health workforce is an important component of preventing maternal and neonatal deaths. Medical simulation plays a central role in the training and re-training of health professionals and in the retention of critical lifesaving skills.
Although the benefits of simulation training are well-documented, the challenges and transformative potential of medical simulation as a teaching and learning tool in sub-Saharan Africa remains inadequately researched. Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Uganda, together with the Stavanger Acute Medicine Foundation for Education and Research in Norway and the University of Calgary established a medical simulation centre at MUST through the Simulation for Life initiative (Sim for Life). The program has grown into a nationally recognized centre of excellence for skills enhancement as a teaching facility for medical and nursing students and for in-service health professionals in East Africa.
Building on the success of Sim for Life in Uganda, this project aims to incorporate and test innovative approaches to simulation-based learning among medical and nursing students and frontline health providers. It will also measure the impact of these approaches on maternal and newborn survival. The project seeks to expand simulation-based learning in East and West Africa through partnerships with medical and nursing education programs in northern and eastern Uganda, Tanzania, and Nigeria. It will also support equitable inter-professional collaboration through innovative simulation and peer-led training that addresses gender and social inequities in clinical care.
An implementation research approach will help identify what prevents and facilitates the adoption, uptake, and effective use of simulation-based learning across five African settings. This will generate evidence and context-specific adaptations to better inform policy and practice with respect to skills retention and capacity building among health professionals, and decrease facility-specific maternal and neonatal mortality.