Assessing a novel point-of-care ultrasound training program for rural healthcare providers in Kenya

Grace W. Wanjiku, Gregory Bell, Benjamin Wachira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A novel point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) training program was developed to train rural healthcare providers in Kenya on the Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST), thoracic ultrasound, basic echocardiography, and focused obstetric ultrasonography. The program includes a multimedia manual, pre-course testing, 1-day hands-on training, post-testing, 3-month post-course evaluation, and scheduled refresher training. This study evaluates the impact of the course on PoCUS knowledge and skills. Competency results were compared based on number of previous training/refresher sessions and time elapsed since prior training. Methods: Trainees were evaluated using a computer-based, 30 question, multiple-choice test, a standardized observed structured clinical exam (OSCE), and a survey on their ultrasound use over the previous 3 months. Results: Thirty-three trainees were evaluated at 21 different facilities. All trainees completed the written exam, and 32 completed the OSCE. Nine trainees out of 33 (27.3%) passed the written test. Trainees with two or more prior training sessions had statistically significant increases in their written test scores, while those with only one prior training session maintained their test scores. Time elapsed since last training was not associated with statistically significant differences in mean written test scores. Mean image quality scores (95% confidence interval) were 2.65 (2.37-2.93) for FAST, 2.41 (2.03-2.78) for thoracic, 2.22 (1.89-2.55) for cardiac, and 2.95 (2.67-3.24) for obstetric exams. There was a trend towards increased mean image quality scores with increases in the number of prior training sessions, and a trend towards decreased image quality with increased time elapsed since previous training. Forty percent of trainees reported performing more than 20 scans in the previous 3 months, while 22% reported less than 10 scans in the previous 3 months. Second and third trimester focused obstetric ultrasound was the most frequently performed scan type. Frequency of scanning was positively correlated with written test scores and image quality scores. Conclusion: This novel training program has the potential to improve PoCUS knowledge and skills amongst rural healthcare providers in Kenya. There is an ongoing need to increase refresher/re-training opportunities and to enhance frequency of scanning in order to improve PoCUS competency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number607
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2018


  • Point-of-care ultrasound
  • Rural Kenya
  • Training


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