eSCART, the electronic Short Course on Antiretroviral Treatment, offers the knowledge needed to provide antiretroviral treatment to HIV patients in low-resource settings.
eSCART targets health care professionals (physicians and clinical officers) working in low-resource settings.
Mode of study
This course (component) is organized :
- Distance learning (Online)
At the end of this online course the participant will be able to:
1. Define, and chose the appropriate antiretroviral (ARV) regimen taking into account:
- the goal of the therapy (treatment or prevention of transmission of the HIV, post exposure prophylaxis and prevention of mother-to-child transmission);
- the optimal timing for initiation of treatment (including assessment of the stage of the HIV infection and present clinical condition of the patient);
- the general characteristics of the patient; and
- the availability of resources in a specific setting.
2. Plan a monitoring strategy for a patient on ARV including :
- clinical follow-up;
- adherence monitoring and comprehensive counselling;
- laboratory follow-up.
3. Predict and diagnose ARV treatment failure (clinical, immunological and virological), in order to assure the management of it, including the prescription of the appropriate alternative ARV therapy taking into account the available resources.
4. Evaluate the quality of care for AIDS patients as a chronic health problem and relate quality aspects to the organisation of a clinic taking into account appropriate resources needed for aids care.
5. Apply concepts of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), while searching literature about a specific HIV/AIDS-related topic, assess the strength of evidence and formulate recommendations in a collaborative manner (Group work).
The course program is divided in 5 blocks:
Block 1: Introduction into HIV infection
- Natural evolution/Virology& Immunology
Block 2: Antiretroviral treatment - first line therapy
- ARV introduction/ Side effects /Drug interactions/ TB-HIV co-infection/ Monitoring patients on treatment, including adherence
Block 3: Public Health aspects
- Set-up, monitoring and evaluation of an ART Program
Block 4: Antiretroviral treatment - second line therapy
- When to switch to second line regimen/ Resistance
Block 5: Antiretroviral treatment - special indications
Supplementary module: Search of biomedical literature through Internet
Teaching and learning methods
The course includes an introduction week to get students acquainted with the Moodle Learning Management System, and a course-evaluation and wrap-up week (including online closing ceremony) at the end.
Because peer-to-peer learning is an important part of this online course, there is a discussion forum which offers all course participants the possibility to share relevant experience, comments, questions, and concerns. An expert tutor is available to answer students’ questions.
All training material is offered online, on a secured Moodle platform. To assure access to all teaching material, all lectures and guidelines are also sent to participants on a DVD. However, regular internet access, about one to two hours per day, is needed for the exercises and to join the discussion forum. The online training material consists of:
- written lectures*
- spoken lectures (video + audio)*
- case studies
- self-assessments with immediate feedback
- additional reading material such as relevant guidelines and publications*
- asynchronous discussion forum
- Group work on literature search, appraisal of evidence and formulation of recommendations
* also available offline on DVD
The assessment of the students is a continuous process during the course and consists of two parts: active participation in the course and performance. The required level of participation is defined as at least a few relevant postings per module and active participation (quantitative and qualitative) to the Group work. Participation will be evaluated as sufficient or insufficient.
The performance is assessed through the assignments and Group work scored by the expert tutors. Tutors will also provide formative feedback. There are: one group work, two module assignments with short essay questions, one compulsory discussion on forum, and nine MCQ tests during the course. At the end of the course there is a final assignment (essay type questions on short case studies), including a critical reflection on own learning.
Calculation of final mark:
- Final assignment (essay type questions on short case studies): 40% final mark;
- Group work: 30% final mark;
- Other assignments (multiple choice quizzes and open assignments at end of each unit): 30% final mark.
Participants who participated sufficiently (having completed at least 80% of all assignments) and who fail to reach a score of 50% overall are offered one further attempt for failed assessments.
The course is intended for health professionals (physicians and clinical officers) involved in HIV clinical care programs in resource-poor settings.
Applicants should have a medical degree or a first degree of 240 ECTS, 2 years of professional experience in clinical care and good understanding and expressing abilities in English.
To participate in eSCART, the following technical requirements have to be fulfilled:
- Regular access to the Internet
- Ability to access and test a Moodle virtual environment
- Availability of a DVD player
- Availability of Speakers / headset
For the spoken lectures, some special plug-ins are needed (multimedia flash player and java script). The plug-ins are also provided on a DVD, however participants have to install the plug-ins on their computer/laptop. Technical support is offered.
Candidates will be selected based on the following criteria:
- Curriculum Vitae
- Motivation letter
- Level of clinical involvement in HIV-patients’ care
- ToT (trainer of trainers) position / perspective
- Research involvement
- Enrolled in a (tropEd) MIH
- Internet connectivity (see Eligibility Criteria)
This course (component) is accredited by : TropEd