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May 19
CCMDD Funda Friday

​By: Roma Ramphal (CCMDD Provincial Co-ordinator, KwaZulu-Natal)

Facility staff gathered for a Funda Friday morning at Umlazi G Clinic, eThekwini, KZN.

Featured above left to right: Thobeka Mzobe (Nurse Clinician), Bahle Khomo (Nurse Clinician), Thandanani Mbambo (Nurse Clinician), Buhle Majola (Nurse Clinician), Sibusisiwe Madlala (Facility Team Leader), Smart Mahlangu (Pharmacists Assistant). Centre: Xolile Mthembu (Linkage Officer)

The Wikipedia definition of 'training' is: "… teaching, or developing in oneself or others, any skills and knowledge or fitness that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one's capability, capacity, productivity and performance".

'Train, train, train and train again' is the slogan of the CCMDD (Central Chronic Medicine Dispensing and Distribution) team. Regular programme audits and assessments over the years permanently share a common quality improvement thread: the need for training. 

The CCMDD programme that began in 2014 is ever-evolving and expanding, adapting to change and maturing, which creates a constant need for training, refresher training and new training modules when things change yet again.

However, it is a challenge to provide consistent and regular capacity-building. There is a shortage of available trainers and lack of programme time for staff; hiring of training venues and materials' production incur costs; and there are additional complications of misinterpretation of content when multiple trainers deliver one-on-one face-to-face training at multiple sites.

Nonetheless, the impact of continuous and consistent mass training of employees, clients and stakeholders demonstrates its value when people are all on the same page and compliant with policies and procedures. Targets may even be achieved in shorter time periods as employees become empowered and motivated.

The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled the world to conduct many interactions via virtual electronic platforms, like conferencing, formal education (e-Learning), music concerts, medical consultations and, of course, the training of people. 

'CCMDD Funda Friday' (a name derived through an internal competition held among the CCMDD team members) was birthed as a means of leveraging the virtual era: utilising online platforms to interact, engage and teach people where they are. The concept of facilitating CCMDD training in which all stakeholders could participate was also centred around reliability and transparency: 'same time, same place, same topic' every Friday for three weeks in a row.

Training began on CCMDD standard operating procedures (SOPs), combined with parallel live Synchronised National Communication in Health (SyNCH) demonstrations. This amped up the training value as participants were able to view SyNCH and its relationship within the CCMDD programme.

Thus far, the Funda Friday initiative has received 830 attendees over 13 Fridays. Many different groups of people from various departments and organisations have joined and participated. The positive engagement that takes place after a Funda Friday session, and the plans to collaborate around training on wider topics, is particularly beneficial.

Four SOPs have been covered and training is currently taking place with the HST Community Co-ordinators on the guidelines for adherence clubs and everything participants need to know about how adherence club member-patients can be enrolled on the CCMDD programme.

CCMDD Funda Fridays have become an event that many look forward to. Requests for the meeting link to join the training arrive in our inboxes early in the week, as well as many congratulatory WhatsApp messages saying 'thank you' and 'well done'.

Internally, the CCMDD Funda Friday initiative has developed young Pharmacists into confident Master Trainers, and has evolved into a team-building activity. Mildred Shabangu – the National SyNCH Implementation Co-ordinator – and the SyNCH Technicians have also supported Funda Fridays and volunteered to conduct the SyNCH demonstrations. Funda Friday has brought teams together.

Pharmacists are encouraged to take a creative approach to virtual training by using videos and animations, and grabbing the audience's attention with accent changes, comedic dialogue, narrative storytelling, and everything in-between to make the sessions fun and memorable.

There are many more topics lined up with collaboration across platforms.


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