Since late 2019, a novel coronavirus has spread around the world and emerged as a significant public health threat. In response to COVID-19, the government of Bangladesh, including the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), has raised a national-level alert and implemented wide-ranging, multiagency public health measures under WHO guidelines to fight the pandemic. However, lack of public awareness and widespread panic & anxiety related to an unknown illness among the general population pose unique challenges and an enormous threat to the population.
To raise awareness among the general population, healthcare professionals needed to be briefed in the shortest amount of time. Since it’s a huge community of doctors, nurses, midwives, volunteers, healthcare providers, it was impossible to give face-to-face training to all of them. MuktoPaath e-Learning platform brought the training process online, saving the TCV (Time, Cost, Visit) and making it possible to spread awareness within a short time in this crucial situation.
Towards a Solution
MuktoPaath was launched with an aim to provide quality education and an opportunity for decent employment to the underprivileged community across the country. Availing face-to-face training is troublesome and often impossible for marginalized people, especially women and children, since it requires travel, cost, and visit. On MuktoPaath, people interested in learning something just need to register themselves and participate in any course. After completing the course, the learners have to participate in an online quiz. Upon successfully passing the assessment, they are awarded a certificate accredited by the relevant government institutions, NGOs, ministries, etc. Through MuktoPaath, people can benefit from online training from anywhere, at any time. To date, over 1.6 million learners across Bangladesh have been trained through the platform.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh's Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has given 10 government and non-government institutes and organizations permission to disseminate information and training in order to prevent the spreading of misinformation. Since COVID-19 is a relatively new virus, its causes, symptoms, and remedies are still not fully clear to health professionals. Moreover, the spreading of misinformation created panic and confusion among the general population. It was therefore necessary to brief health professionals with useful information and WHO guidelines regarding the virus in a timely manner so that they can in turn raise public awareness. With the guidance of DGHS, these institutes and organizations used MuktoPaath as their only training/learning platform. The platform also offered the option to watch the contents offline, keeping those with limited access to digital devices in mind.
MuktoPaath Training for Health Professionals during the COVID-19 Pandemic aims to address Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 (Good health and Wellbeing). As an e-learning platform MuktoPaath also aims to address SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth)
Since the launch of the platform, MuktoPaath has released around 190 academic, soft skills, life skills, and training courses and has around 1.1M registered learners across the country, contributing to their employment. It has provided training to 300,000 health professionals with the 12 coronavirus-related courses during the pandemic, which enabled them to raise awareness, offer quality information to the public and even get employment as volunteers to fight the crisis.
Being a government platform under a2i, ICT division ensures MuktoPaath's sustainability. The honorable prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, inaugurated the platform in 2016. Both the prime minister and minister of education have stated that blended learning is the future, and Bangladesh will focus on e-learning and e-training as significantly as a conventional learning approach, which ensures MuktoPaath’s engagement in future education and training process.
MuktoPaath e-learning and training framework can be replicated in other countries as well. Specially least developed countries where TCV is a significant issue in providing quality education and training. A government-level collaboration can make it happen where the MuktoPaath team can provide technical guidance in implementing the initiative in any country.