Training The Master Trainers In Botswana: An Invitation From The Ministry Of Health and Wellness

The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) invited PCI to train teams of health care workers chosen from the eight Districts of Botswana that currently provide care for diabetes and hypertension to become ‘Master Trainers’.

A senior official from the MOHW opened the 5-day workshop at 8.30am on Day 1 by outlining the growing problem of NCDs in Botswana. He emphasised the commitment of the MOHW to respond to this new epidemic with the same determination it has shown in the fight against communicable diseases and mother and child health. This was followed by Dr Neo Tapela’s introduction. She launched the MOHW’s recently published Guidelines for Primary Care and described the MOHW plans to ensure that every primary health care clinic in the country will have at least one staff member trained to deliver care for patients with diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. To achieve this, the Master Trainers will cascade training firstly to staff in their peripheral health clinics, followed by a roll out of the programme to other Districts.

The workshop was designed to familiarise participants both with the training materials they will use and with a range of interactive teaching methods. During the five days, every participant led at least one session, and every team was given the opportunity to present from the four main areas covered by the materials:

  • Clinical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Operational skills

By leading sessions on clinical skills, everyone had the opportunity to try out an approach to mentoring intended to serve as a model for their future roles in training and supporting primary health care workers in their Districts. Ten participants were chosen to lead the cascade training for the next eight Districts. The workshop was a huge success with excellent engagement from all the teams and the results of the post-test showing a significant improvement in scores for all grades of health worker.

PCI will continue to support the roll out of the training to the other Districts in Botswana so that the aim of having a self-sufficient cohort of National Master Trainers in NCDs for primary care staff is achieved.