LifeFirst trainings engage, equip healthcare professionals in India

LifeFirst is a tobacco dependence treatment service based upon international evidence-based standards and protocols yet is adapted to the Indian context. The service is an initiative of the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation along with co-partners Salaam Bombay Foundation, Prince Aly Khan Hospital and Mind Temple.

LifeFirst is building a team of healthcare professionals with skills to provide evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) in a variety of healthcare settings for patients from all social strata across Maharashtra, India.

Approximately 2,000 healthcare professionals will be trained during sessions that began in April 2015 and continue into 2016. As of this past summer, 38 trainings were conducted covering 1,213 health care professionals. Those trained so far include doctors ​and nurses from private as well as those from the public health sector, pharmacists, tuberculosis treatment providers, counselors, medical social workers and outreach workers from NGOs working in the field of healthcare.

The sessions are conducted in English for doctors and nurses, and in English, Hindi or Marathi for other healthcare providers (​HCPs​). Two half-day sessions are offered since some participants are unable to attend full-day trainings. Training modules used in the sessions were developed in collaboration with the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Boston, USA.

Training is made interactive by encouraging participants to discuss related topics and participate in role playing. Role playing is an especially effective way to practice the 5A’s and 5R’s. The role playing activities are designed differently for different groups of attendees. Participants are rewarded with a small token for their efforts, an effective method of keeping them motivated and alert.

Feedback from participants indicate satisfaction with the trainings. They found the sessions well organized, easy to understand and increased their knowledge about tobacco. They indicated that they felt more equipped to counsel their patients and felt more responsible to do so, having realized the importance of their role in tobacco cessation.

The Salaam Bombay Foundation is the recipient of one of 19 grants awarded through a partnership between Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning & Change (IGLC) and Global Bridges, to build healthcare professionals’ capacity to treat tobacco users in low- and middle-income countries.

Additional notes:

  1. The level 2 modules for 3-day detailed Tobacco Treatment Specialist training are being finalized as per the ATTUD guidelines and will be launched from February 2016.
  2. Development of online trainings has been initiated and will be launched by February 2016.