VR helps healthcare workers to save lives at birth

Maybe 1 million healthcare workers in Africa do not receive essential training to manage medical emergencies and reduce infant mortality. The vision of Professor Mike English (the Department of Tropical Medicine), and crowdfunding via the OxReach platform, has led to the development of Life-saving Instruction For Emergencies (LIFE), based on existing programmes of face-to-face teaching. This life-saving technology improves training, and so should help to address the 620,000 new-born lives that the World Health Organisation (WHO) say could be saved by delivering essential interventions including emergency care effectively.

LIFE is a scenario-based mobile serious game and VR (virtual reality) gaming platform that teaches healthcare workers to identify and manage medical emergencies. A basic version is downloadable for a smartphone. Healthcare workers explore a scenario to learn or revise essential knowledge regularly. Interactive, instructional emergency care training is delivered using a 3D virtual hospital.

The LIFE project is both innovative and transformative. It shows the way we should think about and take advantage of the changing technological landscape in Africa

Dr Wilson Were, WHO's Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health

Dr Chris Paton (Group Head for Global Health Informatics at the Centre for Tropical Medicine) explains about the VR development of the smartphone serious game.

A healthcare worker tries to treat 'a newborn child' in the VR scenario set in a hospital in Kenya.

Project website

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