Funded by India, Brazil and South Africa, technically supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative Office in Viet Nam, operationalized by Hai Phong University of Medicine and Pharmacy (HPMU), and monitored by the Ministry of Health, the IBSA eLearning Project for Health was developed to provide pre- and in-service training to health care workers, further aiming to improve coverage and quality of health services in the northern coastal region of the country. “With the successful pilot implementation of this eLearning initiative, we are excited to take the project forward and partner with more medical universities in the country in developing more contents and improving user experience,” Dr Tham Chi Dung, Vice Chief, Division of Provider Payment Mechanism Management, Department of Planning and Finance, Ministry of Health, remarked.

From right to left: Mr Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, Dr Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Viet Nam, Mr Parvathaneni Harish, Indian Ambassador to Viet Nam, Mr Fernando Apparício da Silva, Brazilian Ambassador to Viet Nam, and Mr Mpetjane Kgaogelo Lekgoro, South African Ambassador to Viet Nam, were present during the project review dissemination workshop of the Innovative IBSA eLearning Approach for Health, Hanoi, 12 June. (Photo: WHO)

Professor Nguyen Van Hung, Vice Rector of HPMU, reaffirmed the university’s commitment to continue collaborating with partners and getting support from the Ministry of Health in further enhancing this learning platform, “The staff from different departments in our university will develop regular training materials to be in line with the direction of the Ministry of Health: to strengthen grassroots health system and implement basic service packages at primary health care.” While currently, the platform only covers courses on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), more materials will be developed to expand to other health areas.

“The IBSA Project contributes in championing primary health care as it enhances the capacity of healthcare professionals, especially at the district and community levels, without disrupting service delivery. The innovative use of mobile technology and digital resources will bring knowledge to the learners, instead of moving the learners to where the knowledge is,” said Dr Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Viet Nam, as he highlighted that WHO’s support to this project was in line with the priority of the government to strengthen primary health care.

Students of Hai Phong Medical University access online courses on management of noncommunicable diseases through the IBSA eLearning platform. (Photo: WHO)

The IBSA eLearning Project for Health is a part of the South-South Cooperation, which refers to the exchange of resources and expertise between governments, organizations and individuals in developing countries. Mr Mpetjane Kgaogelo Lekgoro, South African Ambassador to Viet Nam, emphasized the strong commitment of the three IBSA countries in the principles of this cooperation mechanism as he said, “South-South Cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the global south that contributes to their national well-being, national and collective self-reliance and the attainment of internationally agreed development goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Indian Ambassador to Viet Nam, Mr Parvathaneni Harish, added, "The IBSA e-learning Project for Health has emerged as a landmark pilot project that represents the immense possibilities of South-South Cooperation. It is hoped that the lectures and resource database will expand in the near future so that classroom education in the country will ably be complemented by the mobile-based app, that would allow ’anytime anywhere learning‘ for new students and experienced professionals alike."

Mr Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, commended the success of the project, “I am pleased to see the completion, with remarkable results, of this project within the broader context of South-South Cooperation, which I have been prioritizing for the UN engagement and support in Viet Nam. The IBSA eLearning Project is a clear example of South-South Cooperation where Viet Nam has benefitted from both resource support and learning from development experience of other countries in the global south.”

Reported by Hoang Linh