How to Train Like the CDC
The CDC through AFENET runs a program called START Kenya. START Kenya provides on-the-job training and mentoring to sub-county and health facility immunization staff to improve program planning, monitoring, and supportive supervision.
The START Kenya program uses LINKS System to track the activities of the mentors and monitor progress of the county-level facilities and health centers. We had the opportunity to take part in the training. Here are a few of our observations:
Invest in the Training
The START Kenya program provides mentors a comprehensive seven-day training. Key people are brought in from the US and Africa to convey important information. All areas of the program are covered and mentors leave the training prepared to carry out their mission.
Allow participants to focus
The mentors were brought to a comfortable hotel for the duration of the program training. The hotel was full board and provided everything the participants needed to stay focused on the training. The participants were on site for the duration of the training.
Create real experience
In the middle of the training, the participants went into the field and worked with a health center. This gave the team real-world experience and allowed them to understand some of the complexity they would face once in their positions. The participants used the infield experience to better understand the remaining training sessions.
Build a strong team dynamic
For the seven days, the participants worked closely together in the hotel conference room, in the field, and at the dinner table. The team was able to form a close bond that will benefit them as they face similar work challenges in the field. They will be able to solve problems by reaching out to others they met in the training session.
Error on the side of completeness
It is easy to have expectations and preconceived notions on what the participants should bring to the training. Leave those behind and ensure that everything the participants need to know is covered in the training sessions. The training covered all areas of the job and provided the trainees many opportunities to ask questions and get clarification.
The experience helped us recognize the value of training and gave us a number of ideas on how to better train users of the LINKS System in the future.