Workshop on the First Integrated Management of Childhood Illness Computerized Adaptation and Training Tool (ICATT) in the Pacific
The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy was introduced in the Pacific in 2001. Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu were the first countries targeted for implementation. Fiji completed the initial adaptation of the generic 11-day course in 2001, after which training of health workers at the district level began. Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu likewise completed their adaptations of IMCI clinical guidelines and conducted their first national courses between 2002 and 2004. IMCI was introduced and adapted in the Federated States of Micronesia in 2003.
In Fiji, IMCI was incorporated into the curricula of the Fiji School of Medicine and Fiji School of Nursing at an early stage, which provided undergraduate training to a wide range of students from all over the Pacific. The University of Papua New Guinea is in the process of introducing IMCI; however, it has had difficulty fully incorporating IMCI into its medical curriculum. The nursing schools in Papua New Guinea have been quite successful in incorporating IMCI, but the pace has been rather slow. In-service training across the Pacific has been expanded; however, many logistical difficulties were experienced, including keeping the materials continually updated.
In 2008, the Pacific was introduced to the IMCI Computerized Adaptation and Training Tool (ICATT) through the country participation of Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands in the Workshop on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness Computerized Adaptation and Training Tool. ICATT is an innovative computerized software application developed by WHO in collaboration with Novartis Foundation. It allows for easy adaptation of the most updated generic guidelines into national IMCI guidelines. Being computer-based, it has the potential to significantly increase training coverage in both in-service and pre-service settings. The ICATT training set includes: the contents of the 11-day course with the latest updates on assessment and treatment; new and improved audio-visual segments targeted to teach clinical signs and procedures such as counselling techniques; and a library of technical resources. The training set includes interactive exercises with immediate feedback to trainees.
Almost immediately after the ICATT orientation workshop, the Fiji School of Medicine updated the IMCI guidelines using ICATT and incorporated them into the curriculum. With the successful experience of using ICATT in the school, the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific and WHO Representative Office for the South Pacific, in close collaboration with Fiji School of Medicine, conducted the IMCI Computerized Training for selected Pacific island countries from 17 to 21 August 2009 at the Fiji School of Medicine, Suva, Fiji. The training was attended by 20 participants from eight countries (Fiji, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu), representatives of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) from the Pacific and country offices, WHO resource persons, and an observer from the WHO Collaborating Centre in Australia, the Centre for International Child Health (CICH).
The overarching aim of the five-day workshop was to introduce and train participants in the use of the ICATT training set. At the same time, the training agenda was assessed for feasible adoption in other Pacific island countries. Throughout the training, participants provided valuable inputs, and efforts were made to facilitate the migration from traditional paper-based training to computerized training. Towards the end of the training, countries identified key steps for scaling up IMCI and ICATT implementation.