Distance-learning collaborations for rapid knowledge sharing to the occupied Palestinian territory during the COVID-19 response: experience from the OxPal partnership.
Saini K., Conway-Jones R., Jurdon R., Penfold R., Celi LA., Alser O.
Distance-learning increasingly forms part of many academic and professional courses. OxPal, a collaboration between University of Oxford medical students and doctors and their counterparts in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), sought to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of interactive online distance-learning through a pre-established international partnership as a method for rapid knowledge sharing during the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response. Two interactive online lectures for medical students and clinicians in the oPt on the COVID-19 pandemic were conducted. The first lecture was an 'Introduction to COVID-19' and the second focused on 'Data-sharing during the pandemic'. 212 and 174 attended each lecture, respectively. Feedback was via an online questionnaire. >95% of respondents indicated the lectures covered a gap in their medical education. 87% and 77% of respondents rated lecture quality 'Good' or 'Excellent' for the two lectures respectively. Qualitative feedback elicited requests for more clinically focused lectures, which have since been provided. Online lectures are feasible and effective for rapid education of medical students and clinicians in the oPt in a public health emergency. We hope this encourages other institutions to provide similar support in the oPt and other 'tutor-deplete' regions facing specific geopolitical challenges to local medical education.