From trainee into Trainer: feedback from Afghanistan

Following on from the training that we did in Afghanistan last year – on the use of WHO Emergency Kits medicines and equipment for the management of key NCDs – it’s exciting to see our cascade training model successfully moving forward. Hear directly from Dr Abdul Bari Khuram, a doctor from Afghanistan and one of the participants in the initial training, on how he recently led a second training on NCDs to reach more remote communities.

“There has been an increase in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Afghanistan recently. For this reason, training workshops have been organized by WHO to find solutions and ensure the best treatment. There was an initial face to face training, led by PCI, in Kabul in the August of last year, to ensure the correct use of the NCD medicines provided by WHO Emergency Kits. There was then need of a refresher second training to reinforce the messages and to reach new clinicians in more remote areas.

Dr Abdul Bari Khuram

As a trainee of the first training in Kabul, I used the knowledge and skills I had gained to become a co-trainer (along with Dr Supriya from WHO) for the second workshop. The PCI team supported this through Skype calls with Dr Supriya and myself, then by working remotely with us in adapting the programme they had used in Kabul to the different circumstances of conducting a training for primary health care staff in remote areas.

After a few further meetings between myself and Dr.Supriya from WHO, we were ready to lead the workshop!

The participants came from four clinics in different provinces of Afghanistan (Kandahar, Nangarhar, Heart and Kunduz). The majority were doctors and pharmacists, as well as a Regional Health Officer from each of these provinces, and also the staff from the central office of the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), and representative of the FEDERATION office (ARCS + ICRC).

Workshop discussions

On the first day of the workshop I focused on diagnosis and management of hypertension, (including severe hypertension and pregnancy), and asthma diagnosis and management. On the second day, we discussed diabetes diagnosis and management, including diabetes and pregnancy, and diabetes and Ramadan. The workshop also included a focus on patient records and registrations, and consultation skills: important considerations in primary care that are often neglected. It is important to mention that the whole workshop was very interactive, and real -life scenarios and examples were discussed with the participants throughout.

Unfortunately, the current situation in Afghanistan requires more attention from external health organisations than it did before. There is a shortage of doctors and pharmacists to meet the demand, including for NCD diagnosis and management. For this reason, training workshops of these kinds really help to train doctors and pharmacists and to ensure the WHO guidelines and standards are met. This training was so useful for myself and colleagues across the different provinces and I hope this project will be extended to all provinces of my country.”