Primary Care International

Primary Care International (PCI) is a social enterprise supporting healthcare workers around the world to serve communities in some of the poorest and fragile settings, from Africa to the Middle East to South Asia. Their aim: to get quality healthcare to all.

PCI was set up to help adapt and share learning and training, already in use in the UK, to primary healthcare workers in resource-poor settings globally. Working with partners, PCI deliver training and support to healthcare workers on the ground, particularly in the area of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and mental health, issues that are increasing globally and which now make up 7of the world’s top 10 causes of death.

PCI use a cascade model to train a relatively small group, who are then supported to train other healthcare workers. Digital training had already begun pre-Covid but further developing and piloting of online training had to be accelerated when face to face training became impossible.

“It’s very much about building the capacity of the healthcare workers”, Jane Lennon, Communications Manager, tells us. “We’re all about taking the skills and knowledge that people already have and facilitating a learning process to enable them to do their work better”. As a social enterprise PCI aim to not only disseminate knowledge but also build communities and strengthen primary care systems that the healthcare workers operate in.

OxLEP funding helps deliver online learning

With the sudden accelerated requirement of quality online learning and training , PCI were in need of some financial support to develop and launch the PCI Academy, their unique and accessible online learning offer. As their hub is based in Oxfordshire, PCI were able to connect with OxLEP Business. “It can be very hard to get support and funding for a social enterprise. We were signposted to OxLEP’s eScalate programme – specifically set up to support social enterprises. When we reached out to them, they were extremely supportive. They provided us with one to one advice and supported us to apply for grant funding”, says Jane.

OxLEP’s grant funding has helped PCI in many ways. Jane explains: “We used the funding to develop materials for the PCI Academy, which includes interactive, evidence-based content delivered via e-modules and live workshop sessions. It’s also enabled us to work with a freelance digital consultant and their existing expertise meant we got information, about managing Covid, out to our healthcare professionals very quickly. Part of the funding was also used to develop a prototype app to be used by doctors in treating diabetes in Mexico.”

Global future

Having officially launched the PCI Academy, the organisation are currently working on projects with UNHCR in Africa offering blended learning courses to health workers there. Another project is underway in the Middle East with a healthcare provider who are developing their own academy using materials produced by PCI with further pipeline work planned in the Caribbean through the WHO.

“Increasing our reach to healthcare workers is very much our aim, with a target of 25,000 healthcare workers by 2025, improving the health of 7 million people in resource poor settings around the world. Our PCI Academy will play an important part in achieving this increased reach. We work alongside our partners to tailor each project to their context. Even when people can travel more we anticipate much of our learning support will remain online. We have developed the materials, skills and knowledge to do this well. This has the added benefit to our organisation of reducing air miles,” Jane tells us.

“We would definitely look to work with OxLEP again in the future. Their flexibility and understanding of us as a small social enterprise and knowing how they could best support us was brilliant.”

Interview Clips

What we do

What we did with grant funding

Working with the eScalate team at OxLEP

eScalate has been a transformative exercise

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