August 2010

Open and Distance Learning for Continuing Medical Education

Advancements in information and communication technologies (ICT) have accelerated the evolution of distance education system across the globe and open and distance learning implements all these technologies to offer courses that can satisfy the varied demands of medical education. Indira Gandhi National Open University, the most reputed Open University in India has made several initiatives to develop and offer the best courses for medical, paramedical and nursing professionals. eHEALTH attempts to provide an overview of IGNOU’s initiatives in this space. Developing countries, all over the world, are preparing their societies and governments for the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution. Policy makers, business utives, NGO activists, acaedemicians and ordinary citizens are prioritising ICT implementation to keep pace with the global trend. Application of new technologies also has an important implication on how people learn and apply knowledge throughout their lives. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the use of computers and internet to enhance the efficacy and effectiveness of education at all levels. Implementing ICT in education has a huge potential of enhancing the education and training system to equip learners with the skills they need. ICT in education can use an alternative instructional delivery system such as radio, educational TV and audio-visual communication or computers and computer-based systems for instructional delivery and management.

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Advancements in information and communication technologies (ICT) have accelerated the evolution of distance education system across the globe. ICTs have immense potential for enhancing the teaching learning process by providing immense opportunities at all levels of the education system. The proper use of ICTs can expand access to education and help raise educational quality by making the teaching-learning process more engaging and active. Technologies such as radio and television, as well as newer digital technologies including the internet have tremendous scope in terms of opening up a completely digitised form of education.

The Open University system, implements all these technologies to offer courses that can satisfy diverse demands of education. Further this system has the potential to provide a variety of specialised training programmes to a large group of learners. The Commonwealth of Learning defines open and distance learning as “a way of providing learning opportunities, characterised by the separation of teacher and learner in time or place, or both time and place; learning that is certified in some way by an institution or agency; the use of variety of media including print and electronic; two-way communications that allows learners and tutors to interact; the possibility of occasional face-to-face meetings; and a specialised division of labour in the production and delivery of courses.”

Major ICT and Education Policy Initiatives in India
Year Initiative
2002 The Indian Government launched a project called Vidya Vahini to provide IT and IT-enabled education in 60,000 schools in three years at a cost of Rs. 6000 crore. The Government proposed to equip each school with a computer with internet, intranet, television, web-conferencing and e-learning.

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2002-2007 The Tenth Plan emphasised on greater use of ICT for education process.
2004 Indian Space Research Organisation, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, state departments of Education and IGNOU launched Edusat, India’s first dedicated education satellite. Edusat allows receiving direct to home quality broadcasts of educational programmes using any television set and a low-cost receiver.
2006 The Government of India, Ministry of HRD, Department of Secondary and Higher Education issue an order for constitution of an Integrated Action Plan to implement broadband connectivity in all secondary schools.
2007 Based on recommendations made by different state open universities and distance education institutions (DEIs), the IGNOU board of management approved the National Open and Distance Learners Library and Information Network (NODLINET) initiative. The expert committee set up by the ministry for human resource development‚  endorsed the initiative, to be implemented in a phased manner within a period of five years.

Open Universities in India

Regulated by the Distance Education Council of India (DCE), the Open University system was initiated in 1982 to augment opportunities for higher education and to make education a lifelong process. The open university and distance learning system helps in upgrading skills at regular intervals and developing new competencies. Various higher education institutions in India are now offering learning opportunities through open and distance learning by satisfying the diverse demands of the system and providing the much requisite availability and flexibility. DCE has also taken several steps towards developing the open university network in India. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the national open university’s courses are used extensively by several state open universities across the country. Efforts have been made towards development of common standards for products as well as processes in the open and distance learning system. Steps have also been initiated to frame norms and standards for the design, development and delivery of programmes in specific fields and to ensure their quality.

As per current indications, the open university learning system is highly cost-effective, which is a great advantage for a developing nation like India. Although, programmes offered by the open universities differ from those offered through the traditional education system, yet these universities ensure that the programmes developed by them are relevant to the economic and employment needs. The various courses are designed in such a way that the students can choose modules that are relevant to their needs. The universities also develop high quality multi-media open learning curriculum that meets the academic, technical and vocational needs of diverse student groups. Established linkages and collaborations with the industry and eminent national and international organisations, make these courses highly sought after.

IGNOU: A Pioneer in Open and Distance Learning Education in India

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was among the first Open Universities, established in India in 1985, with an aim to effectively harness modern education technologies in providing access to educational opportunities. IGNOU combines the use of print, recorded audio and video broadcast radio and television, and audio-conferencing technologies to offer a variety of courses through open and distance learning. In the 25th year of its existence, IGNOU has established itself as one of the best open and distance learning universities, worldwide. The University focuses on continuous skill upgradation, capacity building, retraining and the importance of life-long learning. IT utilises ICTs appropriately to improve efficiency and effectiveness of education in India at a systematic level.

Open Universities in India

  • Indira Gandhi National Open University
  • Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University
  • Karnataka State Open University
  • Nalanda Open University
  • Netaji Subhas Open University
  • Kota Open University
  • Vardhman Mahaveer Open University
  • UP Rajarshi Tandon Open University
  • Madhya Pradesh Bhoj Open University
  • Tamil Nadu Open University
  • Yashwant Rao Chavan Open University
  • Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, Ahmedabad
  • Pt. Sunderlal Sharma OpenUniversity, Chhattisgarh
  • Uttaranchal Open University
  • KK Handique State University

ICT in Medical
ducation

India currently faces a critical shortage of health sciences manpower including doctors, nurses, midwives and scientists with an inappropriate gap in skills in service coverage. To meet the global average, India needs 1.23 doctors, 2.56 nurses and 1.65 scientists per 1000 population in the next 15 years. For this, there is a need to create at least 600 medical colleges, 1500 nursing colleges and 900 engineering colleges. India is currently home to 18 percent of the world’s student population. However, there are more than 6 lakh practicing doctors and one million nurses and health professionals, who have little or no access to professional training. In such a scenario, leveraging on ICT and creating open and distance learning opportunities can be the only tool that can bridge the health sciences education infrastructure gap. Moreover, with the introduction of cutting edge technologies such as 3G wireless and Web 2.0, there is tremendous scope for development in this arena.

Implementation of ICT in health education can not only increase human knowledge capital, but it can also provide health manpower with the opportunity for continuing medical education. ICT can hence create new jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the existing health manpower. This would definitely require greater investments in ICTs towards health education. However, it is interesting to note that, though, approximately Rs. 12,000 crore will be needed as investment for hardware and software for ICT development over the next few years, every 100 students enrolling for a medical course in a college would create 10-12 jobs in the ICT sector.

Open and Distance Learning in Medical Education at IGNOU

With the implementation of ICTs, open and distance learning can be a potential system for offering medical education to practicing health manpower. The School of Health Sciences under IGNOU was set up in 1991, with an objective to augment educational avenues for medical, nursing and paramedical manpower through distance education. The School has collaborated with several organisations such as WHO, UNICEF, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dental Council of India, and more, for developing and offering competence-based programmes in various disciplines of health sciences. The School has brought in several innovations in its course structure and the way education is offered for delivering best quality education in the medical sector.

The main objectives of the School are:

  • Planning, developing and launching degree, diploma and certificate level programmes for health professionals
  • Offering health related awareness courses for general public
  • Conducting research on health related issues

The School of Health Sciences offers a plethora of courses in the field of health sciences that are unique and innovative and offer tremendous advantages to the learners.

Courses at IGNOU School of Health Sciences

Ph.D. Programme in Nursing

The Ph.D. Programme in Nursing was started with an aim to enable nursing personnel to develop advanced research skills and augment research activities for improving quality of care. The programme helps nurses provide evidence-based nursing care to patients in various clinical settings

Objectives

  • To help nursing professionals develop advanced research skills and provide evidence based care

Eligibility

  • Nursing professionals who have completed M.Phil with 55% marks from recognised University (50% marks in case of SC and ST)
  • Nursing professionals with M.Sc. Nursing degree with 55% marks and 5 years experience

Duration

  • Minimum: 18 months
  • Maximum: 4 years

Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Cardiology

Considering the fact that India has only about 150 positions for DM and DNB courses in Cardiology every year, there is a huge gap between availability of cardiology expertise and load of cardiac morbidity in rural as well as urban areas. Moreover, most of the cardiologists are based in urban areas, thereby depriving the rural areas of cardiology expertise. The Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Cardiology provides MBBS doctors with an opportunity of studying clinical cardiology and practicing in semi-urban areas.

Objectives

  • To establish a core programme dedicated to train larger numbers of medical graduates in clinical cardiology to deal effectively with the early recognition, management and prevention of common cardiovascular diseases (non invasive cardiology) and associated diseases particularly Diabetes Mellitus.

Eligibility

  • MBBS (MCI recognised)

Duration

  • Minimum: 2 years
  • Maximum: 4 years

 

BSc (H) in Optometry and Ophthalmic Techniques

Developed in collaboration with the Federation of Ophthalmic Research and Education Centres (FOREC), which promotes ophthalmic services, education and research and establishes group activities, the BSc (H) programme in Optometry and Ophthalmic techniques aims to provide higher education to ophthalmic assistants. Considering the paucity of skilled professionals in ophthalmology, IGNOU started this programme to meet the required manpower demands in this field. The required expertise for developing this programme was provided by ophthalmic experts and scientists from related disciplines.

Objectives

  • To prepare students to assist eye specialists as optometrists, orthoptists, theatre assistants and refractionists
  • To enable students to get self employed as opticians, optometrists and refractionists
  • To enable students to estimate error of refraction and prescribe glasses
  • To enable students to maintain ophthalmic appliances and instruments
  • To enable students to assess ocular motility disorder and prescribe adequate treatment

Eligibility Criteria

  • 10+2 candidates with science background.

Duration

  • 4-6 years

Certificate in Newborn and Infant Care

Aimed to provide nursing professionals with adequate training on new born and infant care, the programme emphasises on maternal care, neonatal care and integrated management of neonatal and childhood illness. The programme helps the nursing professionals in identifying impact of maternal health on neonatal outcome and make appropriate nursing interventions to prevent mortality and morbidity due to common newborn and childhood problems.

Objectives

  • To enhance and update the knowledge, skills and practices of nursing personnel in care of newborn and infants
  • To enable nursing personnel to provide effective nursing care to normal, at risk and sick newborn and infants

Eligibility Criteria

Nursing professionals (RNRM) with diploma in general nursing and midwifery (GNM) or B.Sc. Nursing of above.

Duration

  • Minimum: 6 months
  • Maximum: 2 years

The Post Graduate Diploma in Maternal and Child Health programme is a one year comprehensive package comprising of reproductive health, child health and public health components of maternal and child health (MCH).

Post Graduate Diploma in Maternal and Child Health

The Post Graduate Diploma in Maternal and Child Health programme is a one year comprehensive package comprising of reproductive health, child health and public health components of maternal and child health (MCH). The School of Health Sciences, IGNOU has taken a pioneer step in designing a curriculum by integrating the above essential components of and providing a PG Diploma to not only help the doctors in updating their knowledge and skill, but also improving the MCH care in the country. The programme has undergone a major revision taking into account the need and practical utility of the skills incorporated in the curriculum. It has also incorporated all the important policy decisions of the Government of India in the field of MCH Care.

Objectives

  • To improve the knowledge and skills in MCH for medical officers
  • To upgrade clinical competence of medical personnel for providing quality MCH care

Eligibility

MBBS doctors (should have completed compulsory internship before January 1st of the respective academic session)

Duration

  • Minimum: 1 year
  • Maximum: 3 years

Certificate in Maternal and Child Health

Launched in 2007, the Certificate in Maternal and Child Health Care programme is aimed at upgrading knowledge and skills of healthcare workforce in maternal and child health.

Objectives

  • To update the knowledge and skills of healthcare providers in reproductive and child health
  • To enable the healthcare providers to render effective health care to mother and child

Eligibility

  • Nursing professionals (RNRM) with Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) or above
  • ‚ Auxiliary nurse midwife, female health workers, health supervisors, lady health visitors, public health nurses


Duration

  • Minimum: 6 months
  • Maximum: 2 years

Diploma in Nursing Administration is a one-year programme developed for nurses working in hospitals or the community. The programme helps in upgrading the knowledge and skills of the in-service nurses in the administrative competence.

Post Basic B.Sc Nursing Programme

The three year Post Basic B.Sc Nursing Programme for in service nurses was launched by IGNOU in 1994. There are 36 programme study centres which conduct Post Basic B.SC nursing programme or B.Sc Nursing programme. These colleges of nursing are recognised by Indian Nursing Council.

Objectives

  • To provide an opportunity to diploma holder in-service nurses to upgrade their knowledge and skills in order to respond to the changing health needs of the society
  • To motivate nurses to improve clinical competence to provide quality care
  • To develop teaching, administrative and research skills
  • To promote personal and professional growth for better and promotional opportunities

Eligibility Criteria

10+2 with three years Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) with minimum of two years experience in the profession (male nurses or nurses who have not done midwifery in the GNM programme should have a certificate in any of the nursing courses of 6-9 months duration prescribed by the Indian Nursing Council in lieu of midwifery)
OR
10th class or its equivalent with three years Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) with minimum of five years experience in the profession (male nurses or nurses who have not done midwifery in the GNM Programme should have a certificate in any of the nursing courses of 6-9 months duration prescribed by the Indian Nursing Council in lieu of midwifery)

Duration

  • Minimum: 3 years
  • Maximum: 5 years

Diploma in Nursing Administration

Diploma in Nursing Administration is a one-year programme developed for nurses working in hospitals or the community. The programme helps in upgrading the knowledge and skills of the in-service nurses in the administrative competence.

Objectives

  • To strengthen knowledge of administration concepts and their application in improving nursing services
  • To develop an understanding of recent trends in healthcare system and nursing
  • To participate co-operatively with individuals and groups for improvements of nursing service
  • To develop skills in‚  maintaining‚  administrative competence with effective supervision to provide quality care

Eligibility

B.Sc. (Nursing) or three/three and half years General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) with minimum of two years experience in the profession (male nurses or those nurses who have not done midwifery during their GNM training need to submit a certificate of any nursing course of 6-9 months duration prescribed by Indian Nursing Council which they have completed in lieu of Midwifery)

Duration

  • Minimum: 1 year
  • Maximum: 3 years

Certificate in Competency Enhancement for Auxiliary Nurse Midwife/Female Health Worker (ANM/FHW)

Funded by the Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Family Welfare, the Certificate course in Competency Enhancement for ANM/FHW aims at updating the knowledge and skills of the ANMs/FHWs at the grass root level. Considering the lack of adequate number of training programmes for training these health functionaries, IGNOU with its Open University and Distance Learning model offers great opportunity for meeting the challenges to train ANMs/FHWs.

Objectives

  • To enhance the knowledge and skills of practicing ANMs/FHWs in reproductive and child health, communication and socio-cultural areas including integrated management of neonatal and childhood illness
  • To enable ANMs/FHWs to develop positive attitude towards the community in providing healthcare through community participation

Eligibility Criteria

In service ANMs/FHWs who have qualified ANM/FHW training course (Revised) with minimum of two years of work experience
OR
Those who have qualified ANM/FHW training course (old) with a minimum of three years of work experience

Duration

  • Minimum: 1 year
  • Maximum: 3 years

Post Graduate Diploma in Geriatric Medicine

Designed specifically for MBBS doctors, the Post Graduate Diploma in Geriatric Medicine aims to not only equip the in-service doctors with knowledge and skills in the field of geriatric medicine, but also enable them to deal with the special problems faced by the elderly.

Objectives

  • To upgrade the knowledge and skills for providing comprehensive healthcare to elderly
  • To inculcate the inter-disciplinary approach for diagnosing and management of geriatric health problems
  • To improve the clinical, social and communication skills by providing hands on training in medical colleges and district hospitals

Eligibility

  • MBBS doctors

Duration

  • Minimum: 1 year
  • Maximum: 3 years

Certificate in Healthcare Waste Management in South-East Asia Countries

The Certificate in Healthcare Waste Management in South-East Asia Countries programme has been developed to create basic awareness about healthcare waste management practices and equip the learners with enough skills for effectively managing healthcare waste and safeguard themselves and the community against adverse health impact of healthcare waste.

Objectives

  • To sensitise the learners about healthcare waste and its impact on health and environment
  • To acquaint the learner group to existing legislation, knowledge and practices regarding healthcare waste management practices in South-East Asia region countries
  • To impart knowledge on the systems and technologies in healthcare waste management and its practical aspects

Eligibility

  • Doctors, nurses, other professional workers with minimum of 10+2 qualification

Duration

  • Minimum: 6 months
  • Maximum: 2 years

Certificate in Home Based Care Providers (CHBCP)

The CHBCP programme for home-based care providers has been developed to prepare a workforce in the country with the skills required to look after elderly and people suffering from chronic progressive illnesses.

Objectives

  • To prepare a workforce in the country with the skills required to look after elderly and people suffering from chronic progressive illnesses
  • To provide care to people at home after discharge from tertiary care
  • To help the family members and patients to cope with the stress of care of their long term ailing relatives
  • To provide quality of life for the patient and the family members

Eligibility

  • 10th pass candidates

Duration

  • Minimum: 6 months
  • Maximum: 2 years

Certificate in Diabetes Care for Community Workers (CDCW)

The CDCW programme has been developed to build a community level workforce to work in diabetic clinics, health centers at community level and in diabetic clinics in hospitals. Developed for health workers interested to work in diabetic clinics, the programme will help upgrade the knowledge about diabetes mellitus, its management and complications, prevention and so on. It will also help the workers to learn various skills for assessment and care of the diabetic patient and their family members.

Objectives

  • To impart knowledge about the epidemiology of diabetes
  • To provide an understanding of causes leading to diabetes
  • To give a detailed knowledge of the effect of diabetes on various organs of the body
  • To provide knowledge and skills about management of the diseases in relation to diet, foot care, eye care, etc
  • To equip learners with interpersonal communication skills, which will facilitate the psychological well being of patients

Eligibility

  • 10+2 (preferably with science)

Duration

  • Minimum: 6 months
  • Maximum: 2 years

Post Graduate Diploma in Hospital and Health Management (PGDHHM)

The PGDHHM programme aims at improving the managerial skills of hospital staff for the effective and efficient performance of the hospitals. Launched in January 2001, the total number of programme study centres activated at present are 23.

Objectives

  • To acquire theoretical knowledge and develop practical skills to apply scientific approach to management of people, materials, finance, communication and for organising work and managing resources
  • To learn modern management techniques‚ like inventory canal, control,‚ economic order quantity (EOQ),‚ operational research, organisational‚ development, management information‚ systems, and so on
  • To plan in advance how to face the‚ problems of hospital management,‚ learn methods of problems solving‚ and decision making
  • To assess the clinical and nonclinical‚ needs of patient care, and‚ understand the administrative and‚ technical requirements of physicians‚ and paramedical personnel

Eligibility

  • Medical/dental graduates from an‚ institute recognised by the Medical‚ Council of India (MCI) or Dental‚ Council
  • Graduates in Indian system of‚ medicine, homeopathy, nursing‚ and pharmacy, recognised by the‚ respective council with three years‚ hospital experience
  • Graduates holding MBA Degree or‚ PG Diploma in Financial, Material‚ or Personal Management with five‚ years of hospital experience
  • Preference will be given to applicants‚ working in a hospital/healthcare institution, holding administrative‚ responsibilities

Duration

  • Minimum: 1 year
  • Maximum: 3 years

Post Graduate Certificate in Rural‚ Surgery

Th e Post Graduate Certifi cate in‚ Rural Surgery programme is a one‚ year comprehensive surgical package‚ comprising of general surgery, speciality‚ surgery, orthopaedics, obstetrics and‚ gynaecology and ENT.

Brief essential components of‚ radiology, anaesthesia and practical tips‚ on setting up a private nursing home‚ have also been covered in the curriculum.‚ Th e concept of rural surgery will not only‚ provide the surgical care at an aff ordable
cost but also fulfi ll the objective of‚ caring surgery to the doorsteps of the‚ community.

Objectives

To provide continuing medical‚ education to practicing surgeons to enrich‚ them with appropriate skills to meet the‚ surgical need and demand of people from‚ rural and semi-urban health setup

Eligibility

Diploma/Post Graduate degree in‚ General Surgery/Orthopaedics/Obstetrics‚ and Gynaecology

Duration

  • Minimum: 1 year
  • Maximum: 3 years

Certificate in Health and‚ Environment

Th e Certificate in Health and‚ Environment programme is aimed at‚ increasing awareness about environment‚ and health and attempts to impart enough‚ skills needed for the conservation of the‚ environment.

Th e knowledge and skills acquired‚ through this programme would safeguard‚ against the health impact of adverse‚ environment.

Objectives

  • To comprehend the principles of environment, health and their relationship
  • To understand and diagnose the problems generated as a result of environmental degradation
  • To acquire competency to apply the knowledge, understanding and skills related to health and environment for personal and social health and well-being as related to environment

Eligibility‚ 

  • 10+ 2 candidates

Duration

  • Minimum: 6 months
  • Maximum: 2 years
FACULTY AT SCHOOL OF HEALTH SCIENCES, IGNOU

Prof (Mrs) Bimla Kapoor
Director

HEALTH SCIENCES FACULTY

Prof AK Agarwal, Professor
Prof SB Arora, Professor
Prof TK Jena, Professor
Dr Ruchika Kuba, Reader
Dr Biplab Jamatia, Lecturer

NURSING FACULTY

Prof (Mrs) Bimla Kapoor, Professor
Prof (Mrs) Pity Koul, Professor
Ms Neerja Sood, Lecturer
Mrs Reeta Devi, Lecturer
Mrs Laxmi, Lecturer

PG Diploma in Acupuncture

Th e PG Diploma in Acupuncture programme aims at teaching medical graduates the unique acupuncture technique, which is well recognised the world over and well recognised owing to lower cost of treatment and no side eff ects. Th e programme is unique as it is the fi rst medical programme to be‚ offered online.

Objectives

To help graduates from diff erent systems of medicine learn a new modality of therapy and utilise it for patient€™s benefi t in treating acute and chronic diseases.

Eligibility

Medical graduates (Allopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Yoga and Naturopathy)

Duration

  • Minimum:‚ 1 year
  • Maximum: 3 years

Post Graduate Certificate of Endodontics

Developed in collaboration with the Dental Council of India, Post Graduate Certifi cate of Endodontics is a one year programme aimed at equipping dentists with enhanced knowledge and skills in the fi eld of conservative dentistry.

Objectives

  • To enhance knowledge and skills in the fi eld of conservative dentistry
  • To improve assessments, diagnosis and management skills so as to carry out specialised interventions in conservative dentistry

Eligibility

  • BDS Dentists

Duration

  • Minimum: 1 year
  • Maximum: 3 years

Post Graduate Certificate in Oral Implantology

Th e Post Graduate Certifi cate in Oral Implantology programme aims at equipping practicing dentists with enhanced knowledge and skills in the fi eld of Oral Implantology.

Objectives

  • To enhance knowledge and skills in‚ the field of oral implantology
  • To improve assessment, diagnosis and management skills needed for dental implants

Eligibility

  • BDS Dentists

Duration

  • Minimum: 1 year
  • Maximum: 3 years

Post Graduate Diploma in District Health Management

Owing to the crucial role of public health practitioners in all aspects of district and public health management, IGNOU School of Health Sciences launched the post graduate diploma programme in District Health Management.

Objectives

  • To acquire theoretical knowledge and develop practical skills to apply scientifi c approach to management of district health services
  • To learn modern management techniques required for making district health plans
  • To assess HR needs and develop understanding of technical and administrative requirements of diff erent personnel

Eligibility

  • Graduate with two or more years of experience in public health
  • Medical doctors, district health programme managers, interested members of civil society, staff of NGOs working in public health and students of public health programmes

Duration

  • Minimum: 1 year
  • Maximum: 3 years.

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