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How Paraguay uses digital platforms to reach health workers with remote training

Being aware of the benefits of using digital platforms to train health workers, such as the ability to reach providers in remote locations, ease of deployment and flexibility, UNICEF Paraguay deployed nutrition and COVID-19 trainings on different digital platforms – and achieved great success with each.

Nutrition Training Obesity is a multifaceted, chronic condition that is preventable. In Paraguay, 34.6% of children from 5 to 19 years old have overweight or obeseity. Obesity is higher in urban areas due to poor diet, high consumption of sugary foods and low physical activity.

Working with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare (MOH), UNICEF Paraguay, with support from UNICEF LACRO, digitized a “Manual for the Management of Infant and Child Obesity.” The manual was turned into an interactive training comprised of four modules with videos and images. The team selected Moodle as the learning platform as it is easy to access, customize and manage – and provides offline access to those without reliable connectivity.

The MOH promoted the course on their website and - within hours - all available slots were filled. Over 600 participants joined the course from 13 of the country’s 17 departments, with 410 receiving certificates for completing all modules. UNICEF LACRO also piloted a live class with one of Paraguay’s foremost nutrition experts. Zoom was used for this, given the large number of participants, the ability to control microphones and the fact that registration did not require account creation. Over 200 health workers participated, with 98% of participants rating it a five out of five.

COVID-19 Training

UNICEF Paraguay also deployed four training courses targeting the health workforce on topics such as ‘COVID-19 Vaccination Training’. WhatsApp was used as it is a popular means of communication that hadn’t been previously used for remote trainings. RapidPro, UNICEF’s messaging platform, was used to deploy the training through WhatsApp.

When plans to target a small group of health workers to test the content stalled, UNICEF Paraguay posted a link to the course on their Facebook page, which resulted in an incredible uptick in content engagement. In the end, over 800 health workers completed all courses and received certificates of completion.​​​​​​​

Health worker taking a course on COVID-19 prevention in a health facility in Paraguay.

Different Tools for Different Use Cases

UNICEF Paraguay used five different digital tools to deploy Nutrition and COVID-19 trainings to over 1,200 health workers across the country. The use of these digital platforms enabled health workers to access content and training materials at their own pace and in the location of their choosing, providing them with critical information needed to perform their jobs.

The Paraguay CO chose to use Moodle and RapidPro through WhatsApp as they enabled the deployment of light courses that did not require robust internet connections. Zoom was used to host a live class with over 200 participants and Facebook was used to advertise courses and recruit participants. The CO leveraged the unique strengths of each tool as best fit their needs for successful course deployment. ​​​​​​​

Given the demand from health workers for these courses and the ease of deploying trainings through digital platforms, such projects offer UNICEF CO a simple way to strengthen health systems through improved health workforce capacity on a wide range of topics.

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