Author(s): Dodani S, Songer T, Ahmed Z, Laporte RE
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Building research capacity in developing countries using cost-effective methods has been recognized as an important pillar for the production of a sound evidence base for decision-making in policy and practice. We assessed the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a research training course conducted using traditional methods as well as the video-teleconferencing (VTC) method in Pakistan. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A 9-day epidemiology research training course was offered to physicians in Pakistan (92\%) and Bangladesh (8\%). The course was taught using (1) a traditional classroom face-to face (F2F) method at the Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan, and (2) the VTC method at two medical institutions within Pakistan. In total, 40 participants were selected for the F2F group and 46 for the VTC group. Outcome parameters were assessed pre- and post-course (short-term) as well as after 1 year (long-term). Costs of conducting the training by both methods were also identified using cost-effectiveness analysis. RESULTS: The total study sample included 56 participants (F2F n =38, VTC n=18) for the short-term and 49 participants for the long-term assessment. After the end of the course (Day 9), mean post-test 1 scores showed significant improvement in both groups: 15.08 ± 1.75 in F2F (p=0.001) versus 13.122 ± 1.87 in VTC (p=0.001). Mean scores 1 year after the course (post-test 2) were lower than mean post-test 1 scores in both groups (13.42 ± 2.61 in F2F versus 12.31 ± 2.08 in VTC) but were higher than the baseline pretest scores. The total incremental cost per score gained was higher for the VTC group for both short-term (VTC incremental cost was $166/score gained) and long-term (VTC incremental cost was $458/ score gained) course effectiveness. CONCLUSIONS: The use of e-technologies in developing countries proves to be an effective way of building capacity and reducing the problems of brain drain. This initial study provides a foundation from which larger studies may be developed.
This article was published in Telemed J E Health
and referenced in Journal of Tourism & Hospitality