COVID-19 advanced respiratory care educational training programme for healthcare workers in Lesotho: An observational study

Valerie O. Osula, Jill E. Sanders, Tafadzwa Chakare, Lucy Mapota-Masoabi, Makhoase Ranyali-Otubanjo, Bhakti Hansoti, Eric D. McCollum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To develop and implement a € low-dose, high-frequency' (LDHF) advanced respiratory care training programme for COVID-19 care in Lesotho. Design Prospective pretraining-post-training evaluation. Setting Lesotho has limited capacity in advanced respiratory care. Participants Physicians and nurses. Interventions Due to limited participation in May-September 2020, the LDHF approach was modified into a traditional 1-day offsite training in November 2020 that reviewed respiratory anatomy and physiology, clinical principles for conventional oxygen, heated high-flow nasal cannula and non-invasive ventilation management. Basic mechanical ventilation principles were introduced. Outcome measures Participants completed a 20-question multiple choice examination immediately before and after the 1-day training. Paired t-tests were used to evaluate the difference in average participant pretraining and post-training examination scores. Results Pretraining and post-training examinations were completed by 46/53 (86.7%) participants, of whom 93.4% (n=43) were nurses. The overall mean pretraining score was 44.8% (SD 12.4%). Mean scores improved by an average of 23.7 percentage points (95% CI 19.7 to 27.6, p<0.001) on the post-training examination to a mean score of 68.5% (SD 13.6%). Performance on basic and advanced respiratory categories also improved by 17.7 (95% CI 11.6 to 23.8) and 25.6 percentage points (95% CI 20.4 to 30.8) (p<0.001). Likewise, mean examination scores increased on the post-training test, compared with pretraining, for questions related to respiratory management (29.6 percentage points, 95% CI 24.1 to 35.0) and physiology (17.4 percentage points, 95% CI 12.0 to 22.8). Conclusions An LDHF training approach was not feasible during this early emergency period of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lesotho. Despite clear knowledge gains, the modest post-training examination scores coupled with limited physician engagement suggest healthcare workers require alternative educational strategies before higher advanced care like mechanical ventilation is implementable. Conventional and high-flow oxygen is better aligned with post-training healthcare worker knowledge levels and rapid implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere058643
JournalBMJ open
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 29 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Public health
  • Respiratory infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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