Building research capacity in developing countries using cost-effective methods has been recognised as an important pillar for the production of a sound evidence base for decision-making in policy and practice. We assessed the effectiveness of a research training course using traditional as well as video-teleconference method in Pakistan. A 9-day epidemiology research training course was offered to physicians in Pakistan (92%) and Bangladeshis (8%). The course was taught using (a) a traditional class room—face-to-face (F2F) method at the Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan; and (b) Video Tele-Conferencing (VTC) method at two medical institutions within Pakistan. A total of 40 participants were selected for F2F and 46 for VTC group. Outcome parameters were assessed pre- and post-course (short-term) as well as after 1 year (long-term). Costs of conducting the training in both methods were also identified using cost-effectiveness analysis.
Results The total study sample included 56 participants (F2F=38 and VTC=18) for the short-term and 49 participants for long-term assessment. After the end of the course (9th day), mean post-test1 scores showed significant improvement in both the groups that is, 15.08±1.75 in F2F (p=0.001) vs 13.122±1.87 in VTC (p=0.001). Mean scores after 1-year of the course (post-test 2) were lower than mean post-test 1 scores in both groups (13.42±2.61 in F2F vs 12.31±2.08 in VTC), however, were higher than the baseline pre-test scores.
Conclusion The use of e-technologies in developing countries proves to be an effective way of building capacity and reducing the problems of brain drain.
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