In African hospitals there is very little opportunity to learn about how to prevent infections, how to recognize infectious disease outbreaks, and how to control infections. The results of this knowledge gap are horrific, as we saw with Ebola, and with millions of African adults and children who die each year of easily preventable infections. By developing awareness of infection control in hospitals, clinics, and among all manner of healthcare workers, African lives will be saved and improved, thereby fertilizing opportunities for advancement in quality of life in African communities.
The Infection Control Africa Network , Stellenbosch University (Cape Town), and Webber Training Inc created Teleclass Education Africa to provide basic infection control education to African healthcare workers. It is the only initiative to provide such education, specifically to African healthcare workers, in each of the 5 primary African languages - English, French, Portuguese, Arabic, and Swahili. The infection control course material is created originally at Stellenbosch University and will be made available on the program web site for unlimited access by those who can use the information. Everything will also be provided on portable USB memory sticks for those where internet access is unavailable or inconsistent.
The original initiative, called "Teleclass Education" was launched at the University of Ottawa by Prof. Syed Sattar and Paul Webber in 2001. The 3-fold mandate of the original Teleclass Education was then, and remains: (1) bring the best possible infection control information, (2) to the widest possible audience, (3) with the fewest barriers to access.
Teleclass Education (global - English language) sought to bring lectures on infection prevention and control topics by the world's top authorities on the subjects to a global healthcare, academic, and regulatory audience. In the case of the English-language teleclass series, lectures are delivered over the telephone to a live audience, and recorded for wider access on-line. There is also an active Spanish-languge teleclass series, a re-emerging Portuguese-language series, and a French-language series, all of which can be accessed at www.webbertraining.com.
The global Teleclass Education series is accessed by healthcare professionals in almost every country on the planet. Teleclass Education (global - English language) receives funding from the World Health Organization, as well as from unrestricted grants from other NGOs and companies, and from registration fees. Teleclass Education has no paid employees, and was not created or intended to make money (indeed it has never even come close). The annual shortfall is covered by Paul and Jacqueline Webber. Members in low resource regions are, and have always been, provided free access to all Teleclass Education materials. Teleclass Education also provides small grants to other infection control education initiatives in developing countries.
Teleclass Education Africa - History & Process
A very large audience of healthcare workers from African countries use Teleclass Education (global - English language), and the concept of an Africa-specific version of this initiative was suggested.
In 2012, at the annual conference of the Infection Control Africa Network in Cape Town, the framework of Teleclass Education AFRICA was proposed. In late 2013 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Infection Control Africa Network and Webber Training Inc.
Work on the program started right away, but efforts to combat the Ebola crisis understandably caused an extended delay in the development of the initiative. As of this writing, the web site has been completed and content is now starting to be translated and uploaded. The web site was specifically designed for dynamic use with portable devices, as well as laptop and desktop computers
The original lectures, including PowerPoint slides and recordings are provided by Stellenbosch University out of their "Basics of Infection Control" course. Douglas Barnes edits and converts the English-language files to the web format. The PowerPoint slides and a transcript of the recordings are sent to be translated and recorded into the other 4 primary African languages, and then those files are similarly formatted and posted to the site. It is a laborious process, but it works.
To date the Webber family has funded all expenses related to the creation of the web site (TeleclassAfrica.org ) and the translations, but the cost to expand the program to the full set of lectures is more than can be reasonably borne by one private funder.
Your donation(s) will be used primarily to underwrite the cost of translating the lecture slides and re-recording the lectures from English into each of the other 4 languages - Afri-French, Afri-Portuguese, Arabic, and Swahili. Each lecture costs between $2,000USD and $6,000USD to fully translate and upload, depending on how much of it can be done by our wonderful volunteers. This is largely a one-time expense for the predetermined course of lectures, although new lectures, or updated lectures will undoubtedly be added from time to time. Funds will also be used to maintain and further develop the web site. To date the web site developer (Douglas Barnes) has charged little or nothing for his excellent work, but his efforts should be fairly compensated.
Funds are administered by Infection Control Africa Network (registered charity number 2012/079606/08).
The People at the Heart of Teleclass Education Africa:
Prof. Shaheen Mehtar , of Cape Town, South Africa, heads up the Teleclass Education Africa initiative. Prof. Mehtar is an Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University. Professor Mehtar and has been involved in setting up IPC programmes in the UK, Europe, Far East, India, Asia and Latin America. She has been on the executive committees of several prestigious organizations such as the Hospital Infection Society, The British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, European Society of Microbiology and Infectious Disease, the International Society of Chemotherapy and the International Society of Infectious Diseases. A founding member and Chair of the Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN), Prof Mehtar also serves on several WHO committees including those for global IPC policies, surgical site infection, WASH and safety injection global network (SIGN).
Paul Webber, of Belleville, Ontario, Canada
Paul Webber is the director of Webber Training Inc. He co-created the Teleclass Education project for infection prevention and control education and continues to oversee it's operation and charitable functions. Paul owns other small businesses and takes no income from the Teleclass Education initiative.
Douglas Barnes of Tweed, Ontario, Canada
Douglas Barnes of EcoEdge Design Ltd. has developed the Teleclass Education Africa website, and is in charge of building the online courses. Douglas has extensive knowledge of on-line course development. He has developed programs and consulted on courses for organizations in Canada, India, Japan (he speaks Japanese), and Australia.
Languages Africa , of Kenya, provides translations, along with talented individuals such as Dr. Jean-Paul Ngandu of Namibia, and Dr. May Gamar Elanbya of Sudan. Other helpers are welcome - we would particularly value an English-to-Swahili translator.
Thank you for whatever financial support you are able to offer.