Development of a guide for mobile learning on digital rehabilitation for health professionals in sub-Saharan Africa

Nina Pietsch, BSc

Master Digital Healthcare, St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences 2022

Aim and Research Question(s)

The goal of the study is to gain insight into how mobile learning units on digital rehabilitation should be designed for health professionals in sub-Saharan Africa, with the aim to develop a digital guidebook for educators on how to create mobile learning units on digital rehabilitation for health professionals in this region.


In 2013, there was a global shortage of 7.2 million qualified health professionals, which is expected to grow to 12.9 million by 2035 [1]. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa, the unmet need for rehabilitation is serious [2]. As technology improves and digitalization increases in sub-Saharan Africa, it has become increasingly clear that using technology to train more health professionals is part of the solution to healthcare challenges.


Based on the literature research findings, a mixed methods questionnaire was developed and used in an exploratory cross-sectional study to explore the needs of working and aspiring health professionals in sub-Saharan Africa in their roles as educators and learners regarding mobile learning on digital rehabilitation. Based on the survey and literature findings, a digital guidebook for educators was developed (see Figure 1) in the form of animated learning videos with interactive elements.

Figure 1: Title screen of the digital guidebook

Results and Discussion

23 needs were identified, with no major differences found between the needs of learners and educators. The needs were summarized in the categories (1) Needs regarding the design of the content, (2) Technical needs, (3) Needs for educational support, (4) Needs for infrastructure, and (5) Further needs. For the digital guidebook, four interactive learning videos were created (see Figure 2). The videos can be downloaded at

Figure 2: Example scene from the third video clip


The study results show that there is an interest in mobile learning on digital rehabilitation among health professionals in sub-Saharan Africa. However, because of a non-representative sample, the identified needs can be related primarily to working health professionals in English-speaking countries in sub-Saharan Africa who have at least reasonably stable access to the Internet and have already been exposed to digital services.


[1] Campbell et al. (2013). A universal truth: No health without a workforce. Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health. Global Health Workforce Alliance and World Health Organization. [2] Kamenov et al. (2019). Needs and unmet needs for rehabilitation services: A scoping review. Disability and Rehabilitation, 41(10), 1227–1237.