Strengthening Public Health Schools in Brazil to implement distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic
More than 150 public professionals from public health schools in Brazil were trained through the Virtual Campus for Public Health during 2020 through a project of the Pan American Health Organization in Brazil (OPAS) and the National Council of Secretaries of Health (CONASS) that sought to strengthen the capacities of schools for the development of distance education to respond to COVID-19.
Through technical cooperation, which includes public health schools linked to state health secretariats, the use of information and communication technologies was incorporated into the state health network.
The first stage of the project allowed 19 public health schools to replicate courses on COVID-19, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and hosted on the Virtual Campus, in their virtual learning environments. The courses were translated into Portuguese and their objective is to rate the care provided by health workers in facing the disease. The available courses are:
- Diseases caused by emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Treatment Unit Project - SARS - 2020 (COVID-19)
- Clinical Management of Severe Acute Respiratory Infections - 2020 (COVID-19)
- Infection prevention and control (IPC) caused by the new coronavirus (COVID-19)
The second phase of technical cooperation aimed to support the incorporation of technologies in schools. The professionals received training on hosting, design and coordination of virtual education courses and projects within the framework of Permanent Health Education. At this stage, 16 states participated in the project, which had two lines of work:
- training of professionals in schools' pedagogical and IT teams to host and maintain Drupal and Moodle platforms;
- development of the course "Design of virtual educational proposals within the framework of permanent health education" to train professionals of pedagogical teams.
Through this initiative, public health schools improved their virtual platforms and those that did not use distance education tools began to mobilize their management to implement the digital platform, with the support of the Virtual Campus. The pedagogical axis of the project allowed to improve the structuring of the courses, since the degree offered by the Virtual Campus promoted reflection on the concept of permanent education in health and its applicability in distance education courses based on the problematization and development of practices.
This technical cooperation project allowed to adopt new action strategies to face the COVID-19 pandemic, offering digital tools for the qualification of health workers in the states of Brazil.
Link of interest:
CONASS, Public Health Schools and PAHO provide virtual courses on COVID-19 for managers and professionals from 19 states