BMJ, one of the world's leading healthcare knowledge providers, has partnered with the University of Cape Town Lung Institute's Knowledge Translation Unit (UCTLI KTU), to develop and distribute the Practical Approach to Care Kit (PACK) programme to healthcare workers in low to middle income countries.
Primary healthcare is key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, but a lack of skilled health workers makes this difficult, especially in developing countries.
The PACK programme is a comprehensive clinical practice aid that enables healthcare practitioners to diagnose and manage common conditions. It covers 40 common symptoms and 20 conditions including cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, women's health, and end-of-life care.
BMJ is now promoting the global expansion of PACK, in partnership with KTU and other stakeholders including governments, universities and NGOs. The intention is to train and support doctors, nurses and pharmacists to improve primary care services in under resourced regions.
PACK is updated annually to comply with local clinical policy, regulations and essential drug lists, and is translated where necessary. It incorporates regular evidence updates from BMJ and other credible sources including WHO, to ensure that it is relevant and provides the latest best practice guidance.
Since 2007, PACK has been scaled up to reach 20,000 health workers across 2,000 government healthcare facilities in South Africa. The programme has been implemented in Botswana and in the Zomba district of Malawi. Extensive interest in PACK has been received from other middle to low income countries.
BMJ will also provide technical development, marketing, sales and licensing to help with implementation of the PACK programme globally.
Dr Fiona Godlee, BMJ Editor-in-Chief commented: "It is crucial for healthcare workers to be provided with the latest evidence based recommendations, and locally relevant information, to diagnose and treat patients effectively. To that end, we are delighted to partner with UCTLI KTU to bring the PACK programme for use in underserved communities to help improve the delivery of primary care."
Professor Lara Fairall, Head of the KTU, commented: "We are very excited about this development. BMJ have an excellent track record in providing access to professional content in the institutional sector worldwide, and the partnership enables us to leverage their resources to address the gap in clinical decision support and implementation in low and middle income countries. We cannot think of a better partner to be working with to help our PACK programme reach a broader, global audience."