Development of a subspecialty cardiology curriculum for paediatric registrars in Malawi: Implementation of a long-distance hybrid model
Background: Malawi has a high burden of paediatric cardiac disease but a limited number of health providers familiar with these chronic diseases. Given the rising number of Malawian postgraduate paediatric trainees at the University of Malawi College of Medicine, we sought to remedy this lack of basic cardiology training with a long-distance, module-based curriculum that could be utilised independently, as needed, with on-site teaching. We also wished to evaluate the initial modules for utility and improvement in knowledge and confidence in each topic.
Methods: After an initial site visit to determine curriculum needs, online modules with interactive evaluations and quizzes were developed by a paediatric cardiologist in the United States, in collaboration with paediatric registrar training directors in Malawi. This online interactive curriculum was followed by several site visits to Malawi, by the United States-based paediatric cardiologist, to provide bedside teaching, case-based discussions and hands-on skill training in cardiac ultrasound and electrocardiogram interpretation. Evaluation of the curriculum model included post-module quizzes on cardiac topics as well as registrar self-assessments regarding confidence in content areas.
Results: The average post-module quiz score was 93.6%. Repeat testing with the same questions four months later yielded an average score of 78%, with a range from 60 to 100%. Pre- and post-module registrar self-assessment regarding confidence in content areas showed a substantial gain in knowledge and confidence mean. In their qualitative feedback, registrars noted that the modules were helpful in studying for their certifying examinations, and all four of the registrars sitting Part I of their Malawian and South African paediatric certifying examinations passed.
Conclusions: Our innovative hybrid approach, combining online educational modules with in-person teaching visits, is a useful approach in expanding paediatric cardiology subspecialty education in Malawi.