Open and distance learning programs for nursing and midwifery education in east Africa: Protocol for a scoping review

Kahabi Isangula, Grace Edwards, Tumbwene Mwansisya, Columba Mbekenga, Eunice Pallangyo, Ahmed Sarki, Eunice Ndirangu-Mugo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In the face of growing modernity and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, open and distance learning (ODL) is considered to play an important role in increasing access to education worldwide. There is a robust evidence base demonstrating its cost effectiveness in comparison with conventional class-based teaching; however, the transition to this new paradigm of learning for nursing and midwifery courses has been difficult in low-income countries. While there are notable efforts to increase internet and education access to health care professionals, not much is known about ODL for nurses and midwives in East African countries. Objective: The objective of this scoping review is to understand whether ODL programs for nursing and midwifery education exist, the drivers of their adoption, their implementation, the topics/courses covered, their acceptability, and their impacts in East African countries. Methods: The scoping review methodology employs the framework developed by Arksey and O'Malley. Using an exploratory approach, a two-stage screening process consisting of a title and abstract scan and a full-text review will be used to determine the eligibility of articles. To be included, articles must report on an existing ODL initiative for nurses and midwives in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. All articles will be independently assessed for eligibility by pairs of reviewers, and all eligible articles will be abstracted and charted in duplicate using a standardized form. Results: Details of ODL for nursing and midwifery education initiatives and study outcomes will be summarized in a table. The extracted data will undergo exploratory descriptive analysis, and the results will be classified into learner and clinical outcomes. Conclusions: Evidence on ODL for nursing and midwifery education will inform the ongoing development and restructuring of health care professional education in East Africa amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17765
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • East Africa
  • Health
  • Health care
  • Learning
  • Midwifery
  • Nurses
  • Open and distance


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