Author: Mimano L.N, Ferrari G, Kapanda G, Lisasi E, Kulanga A, Nyombi B, Muiruri C, Kessi E, Bartlett J and Ntabaye M Publication Year: 2015
Summary: Diagnostic laboratory support is a critical component of successfully addressing the challenges posed by high rates of communicable and non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of this study was to explore the value of teaching students diagnostic laboratory techniques.
Description: Introduction: Laboratory infrastructure and expertise are lacking in sub-Saharan Africa. Historically medical students have not received formal instruction in the use of diagnostic laboratory techniques. Medical students were taught a core competency course that included laboratory safety, sample collection, processing and handling, microscopy and the use of rapid diagnostic tests. Training complemented topics covered in their didactic course work, and varied according to their medical school class year.

Methods: A wet laboratory was created and equipped with an audiovisual (AV) system. A questionnaire using a 5-point Likert scale was developed to evaluate student perceptions in four domains; Knowledge/skills gained, Course content, Instructor and AV system aspects. Data was collected over 2 months from medical students in years 1, 2 & 4, analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0, and the mean scores and the strength of consensus measure (sCns) were calculated.

Evaluation: 221 students (53 MD1, 110 MD2, and 58 MD3) participated in the survey. Overall, student perception scores were highly positive with a high sCns. The mean scores ranged from 3.9 to 4.7, and the strength of consensus measure exceeded 80% in 12/13 variables measured.

Conclusion: Student perceptions were very positive with a high sCns.

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