There has never been a more urgent need to ensure that high quality health care is available to all. Countries are struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, while also addressing other health threats, including HIV. In many low-and-middle-income countries, health professions education has not kept pace with these challenges due to fragmented, outdated, and static curricula that limit graduates. There is a need for matching competencies to patient and population needs, teamwork, gender stratification of professional status, technical focus with broad contextual understanding, and focus on strategies to improve and maintain high-quality care. COVID-19 has exacerbated many challenges, stretching the capacity of clinics and putting frontline providers at risk.
In the face of these adversities and with funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Strengthening Interprofessional Education for HIV (STRIPE HIV) project offers a reimagined model for interprofessional training and mentorship to improve clinical care and equip clinicians with the technical knowledge and clinical tools to respond to HIV, COVID-19, and other health issues.
The project partners with 20 health professions training institutions from across Sub–Saharan Africa, with support from the African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) and the University of California, San Francisco. STRIPE HIV training emphasizes the importance of multidisciplinary, team-based learning and continuous service quality improvement. Now in it’s third year, 80 partner institutions in 14 countries have participated in training events. Over 900 faculty and educators have facilitated STRIPE trainings at over 100 clinical site, and over 12,000 learners from medical, nursing, laboratory, pharmacy and other health professions have participated in these trainings.
Starting in 2019, AFREhealth, in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and with funding from Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), embarked on an ambitious project to address this variability of pre-service HIV training across institutions, Strengthening InterProfessional Education to Improve HIV Care Across Africa (STRIPE HIV).
STRIPE HIV aims to maximize the impact of HRSA’s investment in, and PEPFAR’s continued commitment to, building health workforce capacity across Africa to achieve HIV epidemic control. The overarching goal of the project is to ensure that pre-service medical and nursing students and early career professionals are prepared to translate lessons and learnings from the classroom to the high-burden clinical settings and are equipped to provide high-quality HIV care while employing an interprofessional team-based approach.
- Strengthening interprofessional HIV training provided by MEPI and NEPI institutions and their partner facilities to ensure that the next generation of health care professionals is equipped to deliver the highest quality, collaborative, evidence-informed HIV care;
- Enabling MEPI and NEPI schools to better support pre-registered health professionals post-training so that they deliver high quality, team-based care for patients with HIV;
- Fostering feedback loops between MEPI and NEPI institutions and their graduates to continually strengthen pre-service education grounded in the realities of patient care in the workplace.
The initial STRIPE HIV intervention was a two-day interactive, case-based training course targeted to final year medical and nursing students, as well as trainees in the allied health professions and pre-registered health professionals at their schools and/or affiliated training sites. This training consisted of 17 training modules that applied an interprofessional approach to learning and focused on covering the fundamentals of HIV, while also helping learners develop competencies in quality improvement. This two-day training course was developed by AFREhealth alongside UCSF and a team of expert advisors.
The second year of STRIPE HIV training is accessible through the new AFREhealth learning management system. It was adapted to be delivered either as an asynchronous course or as a workshop using video conferencing software. The 17 HIV training modules have been updated in response to feedback from participating schools in year one and the COVID-19/HIV module has been updated to reflect current evidence. STRIPE HIV will continue to target final year health professional students and pre-registered health professionals at affiliated training sites. These modules will apply an interprofessional approach to learning and will focus on covering the fundamentals of HIV, while also helping learners develop competencies in quality improvement.