The feasibility of a training course for clubfoot treatment in Africa: A mixed methods study.
Smythe T., Owen R., Le G., Uwizeye E., Hansen L., Lavy C.
BACKGROUND: There is no available training programme with standard elements for health workers treating clubfoot in Africa. Standardised training with continued mentorship has the potential to improve management of clubfoot. We aimed to evaluate the feasibility of such a training programme among clubfoot providers in Africa, and assess implications for training effectiveness and scale up. METHOD: We used participatory research with trainers from 18 countries in Africa over two years to devise, pilot and refine a 2-day basic and a 2-day advanced clubfoot treatment course. (The Africa Clubfoot Training or 'ACT' Course.) The pilots involved training 113 participants. Mixed methods (both qualitative and quantitative) were used for evaluation. We describe and synthesise the results using the eight elements proposed by Bowen et al (2010) to assess feasibility. All participants completed feedback questionnaires, and interviews were conducted with a subset of participants. We undertook a narrative description of themes raised in the participant questionnaires and interviews. Descriptive statistics were used to compare pre- and post-course scores for confidence and knowledge. RESULTS: 113 participants completed pre and post-course measures (response rate = 100%). Mean participant confidence increased from 64% (95%CI: 59-69%) to 88% (95%CI: 86-91%) post course. Mean participant knowledge increased from 55% (95%CI: 51-60%) to 78% (95%CI: 76-81%) post course. No difference was found in mean for either subscale of cadre or sex. The qualitative analysis generated themes under four domains: 'practical learning in groups', 'interactive learning', 'relationship with the trainer' and 'ongoing supervision and mentorship'. CONCLUSION: The Africa Clubfoot Training package to teach health care workers to manage clubfoot is likely to be feasible in Africa. Future work should evaluate its impact on short and long term treatment outcomes and a process evaluation of implementation is required.