Training in Assistive Products Pilot Report
1. Introduction to TAP
Training in assistive products (TAP) is an open access online learning platform, developed in response to
the widespread shortage of personnel trained to provide assistive products (AP). TAP intends to equip
primary/community health and other community-level personnel to provide a range of simple AP, selected
from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Priority Assistive Products List (APL) 1. The training modules
teach a ‘four step’ approach for the safe and appropriate provision of these selected AP. During the
development of TAP, modules are being piloted in different contexts around the world.
2. Pilot overview
The Papua New Guinea (PNG) pilot was carried out in June 2019, in collaboration with the National
Department of Health (NDOH) Health Facilities Standards Branch, National Capital District Community
(NCDC) Health Services, Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) Eye Clinic and the National Orthotics and
Prosthetics Service (NOPS). The pilot focused on understanding and drawing lessons about:
- TAP effectiveness in enabling personnel to acquire knowledge and skills to provide AP
- The effectiveness of the TAP platform considering usability, accessibility, content and learning methods
- TAP implementation, including identifying relevance, feasibility and success factors.
Five modules were included in the pilot: Introduction to assistive products; Introduction to vision; Magnifying
glasses and telescopes; Reading glasses, and Walking aids. A total of 19 personnel from NCDC Kaugere
Health Clinic and NOPS completed modules during allocated work time over two weeks. This was followed
by a number of evaluation activities including consultations, focus groups with participants and their
managers, role play and supervised practice. Data collected throughout the pilot was then analysed to inform
learning for both the TAP development team and PNG stakeholders.
3. Conclusions and lessons
The pilot provided confidence that TAP modules have good potential to increase knowledge, in preparation
for learners to begin provision of simple AP. The pilot also confirmed that learners will in most instances
require supervised practice to achieve safe and effective competency in AP provision. This is an important
consideration in the roll out of TAP, as it requires availability of personnel with relevant skills to mentor and
supervise new learners. This also highlights the importance of including guidance for supervisors in TAP.
The response to TAP from participants, their managers, and senior health personnel was positive, and
reinforced findings from the first TAP pilot: that health service providers recognise a high need for AP
amongst service users; and see provision of simple AP as an appropriate task for nurses, primary/community
health workers and related workforce. Participants also gave valuable feedback to strengthen elements of
module content, as well as to improve the platform’s usability and accessibility. The pilot was also valuable
in highlighting the resourcing constraints experienced by many health personnel, and the impact this may
have on the implementation of TAP. Practical barriers to TAP implementation were identified including limited
access to internet, tablets and printers; availability of supervisors; competing priorities; and a need for dedicated time to focus on training within busy clinic schedules. These are all factors to be considered as TAP is further developed and rolled out.
This pilot activity also provided the PNG NDOH with an opportunity to build on their existing work in
increasing access to AP through PNG’s health system. In particular, to explore the potential to introduce
basic level screening for AP, and provision of selected simple AP through health clinics. Post pilot, there has
been continuation of vision screening and provision of reading glasses at Kaugere Health Clinic, as well as
a collaborative initiative between the Kaugere and NOPS to provide mobility device services. The TAP team
look forward to continuing to learn from these very positive initiatives as they progress.