The Ministry of Health – Uganda implemented the World Health Organization’s Basic Emergency Care course (BEC1) to improve formal emergency care training and address its high burden of acute illness and injury. The BEC is an open-access, in-person, short course that provides comprehensive basic emergency training in low-resource settings. A free, open-access series of pre-course online cases available as downloadable offline files were developed to improve knowledge acquisition and retention. We evaluated BEC participants’ knowledge and self-efficacy in emergency care provision with and without these cases and their perceptions of the cases.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs2) and Likert-scale surveys assessed 137 providers’ knowledge and self-efficacy in emergency care provision, respectively, and focus group discussions explored 74 providers’ perceptions of the BEC course with cases in Kampala in this prospective, controlled study. Data was collected pre-BEC, post-BEC and six-months post-BEC. We used liability analysis and Cronbach alpha coefficients to establish intercorrelation between categorised Likert-scale items. We used mixed model analysis of variance to interpret Likert-scale and MCQ data and thematic content analysis to explore focus group discussions.
Participants gained and maintained significant increases in MCQ averages (15%) and Likert-scale scores over time (p 0.05). Nurses experienced more significant initial gains and long-term decays in MCQ and self-efficacy than doctors (p = 0.009, p < 0.05). Providers found the cases most useful pre-BEC to preview course content but did not revisit them post-course. Technological difficulties and internet costs limited case usage. Conclusion Basic emergency care courses for low-resource settings can increase frontline providers’ long-term knowledge and self-efficacy in emergency care. Nurses experienced greater initial gains and long-term losses in knowledge than doctors. Online adjuncts may enhance health professional education in low-to-middle income countries.