Providing guidance to empower health teams globally
Since 2007, PACK has been scaled up to reach 20,000 health workers across 2,000 government healthcare facilities in South Africa.
BMJ is now promoting the global expansion of PACK, in partnership with KTU and other stakeholders including governments, universities and NGOs. The intention is to train and support doctors, nurses and pharmacists to improve primary care services in under-resourced regions.
Primary health care is key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, but a lack of skilled health workers makes this difficult, especially in developing countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates a shortage of 4.3 million health workers worldwide.
BMJ has partnered with the University of Cape Town Lung Institute's Knowledge Translation Unit (UCTLI KTU), to develop and distribute the Practical Approach to Care Kit (PACK) programme to healthcare workers in low to middle income countries.
PACK can be localised to fit clinical protocols and guidelines for any country. The work to localise PACK according to Brazilian clinical protocols and guidelines was completed in March 2016 and the Floripa-KTU-BMJ team have been busy preparing for its implementation in Florianopolis municipality, Brazil.
PACK can now help support and enable primary care in Floripa to provide better outcomes. Training will be provided for nurses and clinicians across 65 primary care teams over the next several months. It will take the form of short, iterative, team-based, case-study focused sessions, held once per month. A research trial will be undertaken to assess the impact of PACK on primary care in Floripa.
This comprehensive clinical practice aid has been built to support remote workers in lower-middle income countries around the world. Its benefits are extensive and we encourage governments, universities, and non-governmental organisations to support us so we can implement the use of PACK to provide key support for primary care workers in lower-middle income countries.
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The PACK programme is a comprehensive clinical practice aid that enables healthcare practitioners to diagnose and manage common conditions. It covers 40 common symptoms and 20 conditions including cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, women’s health, and end-of-life care.
PACK is updated annually to comply with local clinical policy, regulations and essential drug lists, and is translated where necessary. It incorporates regular evidence updates from BMJ and other credible sources including WHO, to ensure that it is relevant and provides the latest best practice guidance.
The programme has been implemented in Botswana and in the Zomba district of Malawi. Extensive interest in PACK has been received from other middle to low income countries.
In this video, Professor Lara Fairall explains how she has leveraged BMJ Best Practice and WHO content to keep the PACK workbook updated to support medical staff working in remote areas of South Africa. You can also follow Lara Fairall on her blog.
Dr Fiona Godlee, BMJ Editor-in-Chief commented: "It is crucial for healthcare workers to be provided with the latest evidence based recommendations, and locally relevant information, to diagnose and treat patients effectively. To that end, we are delighted to partner with UCTLI KTU to bring the PACK programme for use in underserved communities to help improve the delivery of primary care."
Professor Lara Fairall, Head of the KTU, commented: “We are very excited about this development. BMJ have an excellent track record in providing access to professional content in the institutional sector worldwide, and the partnership enables us to leverage their resources to address the gap in clinical decision support and implementation in low and middle income countries. We cannot think of a better partner to be working with to help our PACK programme reach a broader, global audience.”
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