The Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (Project ECHO) http://echo.unm.edu now operating in Namibia Africa, connects remote clinical sites with specialists to provide better care to more people. The Namibia Project ECHO pilot launched nearly one year ago with $500,000 in funding from CDC www.cdc.gov.
The Namibia Ministry of Health and Social Services www.mhss.gov.na, University of New Mexico www.unm.edu, the University of Washington www.washington.edu, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation www.pedaids.org have provided technical assistance. The main hub is based in Windhoek with satellite sites established in ten regions.
Seventy healthcare workers from all over Namibia attended ECHO sessions on the care and treatment of HIV and TB. Namibia has a population of 2.19 million and is still mainly rural. Almost two thirds of the population live in the northern regions and according to reports, the country ranks 6th highest for people needing treatment for HIV.
Healthcare workers gathered at ten sites to participate in a day of training on ECHO. During the training, instruction was given on the ECHO model as well as the applications used such as Zoom, iECHO, and Electronic Roll Call.
The site received their computers for participating in the sessions and connected to the program via Zoom. The training ended with a successful Mock ECHO session held with all ten sites connected along with participants joining the session via Zoom from the U.S. and Zimbabwe.
Project ECHO’s progress has reached the Ministry of Health, with the staff already seeing an improvement in the quality of services provided to patients made possible via on-line teaching, case presentations, and the sharing of clinical experiences.
The goal is to apply the ECHO Model to expand high quality HIV treatment by providing routine ongoing training and clinical mentorship to physicians, nurses, and other providers at high volume sites where HIV is present.
The plan is to also strengthen connections between local, regional, and central Ministry of Health Social Services HIV clinical teams. The U.S plans to continue to support and expand the Namibia ECHO network with additional funding to be used expand to additional rural healthcare delivery sites.