Background: Ghana is challenged with shortage of critical human resources for health particularly nurses and midwives in rural hard-to-reach communities. This shortage potentially hinders efforts towards attaining universal access to basic healthcare. More importantly, poor quality of pre-service training for health trainees has the potential to worsen this predicament. There is therefore the need to leverage emerging digital innovations like e-learning to complement existing efforts. This study was conducted several months before the outbreak of COVID-19 to investigate the preparedness, acceptability and feasibility e-learning innovation for nursing and midwifery trainees.
Methods: The study is a cross-sectional descriptive survey involving nursing and midwifery students (n = 233) in one of Ghana's public universities, located in the Volta region of Ghana. Simple random sampling technique was used to collect responses from eligible respondents using a structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistical analysis was done using STATA software (version 12.0).
Results: It was found that nearly 100% of respondents owned smartphones that were used mostly for learning purposes including sharing of academic information. Over 70% of respondents particularly used social media, social networking applications and internet searches for learning purposes. Health trainees were however constrained by low bandwidth and lack of seamless internet connectivity within their learning environments to maximize the full benefits of these e-learning opportunities.
Conclusion: Respondents were predominantly prepared for an e-learning pilot project. These feability findings suggest e-learning is a huge potential that can be used to augment existing approaches for pre-service training of health trainees in Ghana, when implementation threats are sufficiently addressed. Compelling findings of this study are therefore timely to inform evidence-based policy decisions on innovative digitial solutions for pre-service training of health workforce even as the world adapts to the "new normal" situation induced by COVID-19.
Keywords: E-learning; Feasibility; Ghana; Health trainees; Innovation; Nursing and midwifery; Policy implications; Preparedness.