Innovators at Oxford University have created a virtual reality game called LIFE, or Life-saving Instruction for Emergencies, to teach health care providers in Africa how to identify and address emergency health situations during childbirth.
LIFE is a scenario-based mobile gaming platform that will teach healthcare workers to identify and manage medical emergencies, using game-like training techniques to reinforce the key steps that need to be performed for a healthcare worker to save the life of a newborn baby in distress.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over two thirds of new-born deaths in Africa could be avoided by delivering essential interventions including emergency care effectively. With face-to-face training only a tiny proportion of the 2.5 million African healthcare workers have been reached. The LIFE system enables everyone with access to a basic smartphone to learn the essential skills, as well as being compatible with VR headsets.
The game will teach the latest WHO guidelines, and can also be linked to professional accreditation, with built-in reminders to stay up-to-date and refresh what has been learned.
“The LIFE project is both innovative and transformative and shows the way we should think about and take advantage of the changing technological landscape in Africa,” said Dr Wilson Were from the World Health Organisation’s Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health.
Last month, the game won a seed grant from Saving Lives at Birth, a competition awarding innovators for tech that focuses on maternal and infant health in developing nations.
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