The role of digital health platforms in re-skilling healthcare professionals in developing countries: The case of MedicineAfrica

Petrakaki, D., Chamakiotis, P. (2021), Policy@Sussex

There is limited understanding about how digital health platforms can establish and develop professionalism in developing countries, especially where continuous professional development opportunities are scarce or under-developed. Our research illustrates how this can be achieved by drawing on a qualitative study of a non-profit platform, MedicineAfrica, that is dedicated to delivering free online health education in post-conflict countries. We identify four mechanisms through which platforms can help to enhance professionalism: standardisation of clinical practice; ‘normalisation’ of professional behaviour; development of medical knowledge; and instilling of values. We then discuss the bureaucratic process that underpins platform-led professionalisation and its potential colonising effects. The research offers a set of recommendations about how digital health platforms can enhance national health services in terms of building capacity and creating social value for the community.

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