Application of the World Health Organization's Basic Emergency Care course in Zambia

Morgan C. Broccoli, Julia Dixon, Branden Skarpiak, Godfrey Phiri, Andrew E. Muck, Emilie J. Calvello Hynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: In 2013, the Zambian Ministry of Health identified action priorities for strengthening their emergency care system; one of these priorities was emergency care training for healthcare providers. To rapidly train the existing cadre of frontline providers, trainings were implemented in multiple provinces using the World Health Organization's Basic Emergency Care (BEC) course. The BEC course is open-access and emphasizes a practical syndrome-based approach to critical emergency conditions. This paper describes the first reported larger scale educational intervention of the BEC course in 7 provinces of Zambia. Methods: Course delivery occurred at seven Zambian hospitals selected by the Ministry of Health over a 1 year period. Participant emergency care knowledge was assessed pre- and post-course with a 25-question multiple choice exam. Participant confidence levels related to emergency care provision and emergency care skills were assessed pre- and post-course using a Likert scale survey. Results: Overall, 210 participants were trained at 7 sites. Participants demonstrated significant improvements in their multiple-choice exam scores; the overall pre-course mean was 61.47, and the post-course mean was 79.87 (p < 0.0001). Self-reported confidence in the care of ill and injured adults and children increased after taking the course, and participants generally agreed that the BEC course was highly valuable and applicable to local needs. Conclusion: Implementation of the WHO's BEC course at seven hospitals throughout Zambia led to improvement in the participants' emergency care knowledge and confidence levels at all sites. The BEC course has the potential to be implemented in a nationwide initiative but would require allocation of significant human and physical resources. Additional work evaluating patient outcomes and long-term participant educational outcomes is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-143
Number of pages4
JournalAfrican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Basic Emergency Care
  • Education
  • Emergency care
  • Emergency care systems
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Gerontology
  • Emergency
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Critical Care


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