As part of their Practical Approach to Care Kit (PACK), the Knowledge Translation Unit (KTU) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Lung Institute has recently developed an online platform called CoronaWise to ensure that COVID-19 resources are accessible to the public at the click of a button.
The KTU devised PACK to support primary healthcare providers who are working in under-resourced communities in South Africa. It does so by strengthening the health services where they work to ultimately achieve the best outcomes for their patients.
The research unit was first established in 2005 to provide primary care guidelines and training on respiratory diseases during the HIV pandemic. Since then, the KTU has expanded its scope to support primary healthcare for all priority health conditions in South Africa and other low- and middle-income countries through education, research and service.
UCT News spoke to Daniella Georgeu-Pepper, the head of training programme design and implementation at the KTU, about PACK’s CoronaWise platform.
Niémah Davids (ND): Please tell us more about PACK and how the CoronaWise website fits into the programme.
Daniella Georgeu-Pepper (DGP): PACK is a suite of tools comprising policy-aligned clinical algorithms and checklists designed to support the delivery of primary healthcare. Healthcare workers like doctors, nurses and community health workers make use of PACK’s resources daily, while consulting patients in public healthcare facilities.
“CoronaWise is a website which hosts health information resources for everyone.”
CoronaWise is a website which hosts health information resources for everyone. Volumes one and two are dedicated to COVID-19 and provide information on how to stop the spread of the virus and the steps to follow for effective home-based care once a family member has tested positive for COVID-19. Volume three covers chronic conditions, which is particularly important since these chronic conditions are widespread and put people at risk of developing severe COVID-19. Volume four focuses on safety at school – how to keep safe during class, break time, exercising and traveling to and from school. We are also in the process of developing volume five, Me and the COVID-19 Vaccine, as well as other clinical guides, online training for healthcare workers and educators, and a series of community materials.
ND: What other health topics will future volumes cover?
DGP: As we expand our content offering, we envision that the website will not only offer COVID-19 resources but also general healthcare information and advice which follows a life-course approach from infancy to one’s senior years. This includes healthcare information on pregnancy, newborn, child, adolescent and adult health, as well as palliative care.
ND: What prompted the KTU to develop a dedicated CoronaWise website?
DGP: The website was created to provide healthcare information that would be easy to access and at no cost to the user. Anyone that has access to a mobile device or computer can access the information data-free.
When COVID- 19 was new to us all, we needed a resource that was accurate and free to access. We continually update the information as we learn more and as the situation and evidence change. Printed resources offer many advantages but can be challenging to circulate at scale from a financial and distribution perspective.
“Our hope is that … CoronaWise will become a go-to resource on evidence-based, up-to-date health information.”
ND: What does the team aim to achieve with the CoronaWise platform? DGP:
Our hope is that, like our clinical guidelines for frontline health workers, CoronaWise will become a go-to resource on evidence-based, up-to-date health information for households and those working in communities.
ND: What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about the platform?
DGP: The CoronaWise website can be accessed via a data-free link … its user-friendly interface means the information is concise, easy to understand and engaging. Downloads are available in English with translations under way for Afrikaans, Xhosa, Sotho and Zulu.
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