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Assessing the Quality of the World Health Organization's Skin NTDs App as a Training Tool in Ghana and Kenya: Protocol for a Cross-sectional Study.


BACKGROUND: Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect over 1.5 billion people worldwide, the majority of them belonging to impoverished populations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Skin NTDs are a subgroup of NTDs that manifest primarily as skin lesions. The diagnosis and treatment of skin NTDs entail considerable resources, including trained personnel and financial backing. Many interventions are being launched and evaluated, particularly mobile health (mHealth) interventions, such as Skin NTDs App, a training and decision support tool offered by the World Health Organization (WHO) for frontline health workers (FHWs). As most digital health guidelines prioritize the thorough evaluation of mHealth interventions, it is essential to conduct a rigorous and validated assessment of Skin NTDs App.

OBJECTIVE: We aim to assess the quality of version 3 of Skin NTDs App, developed for the WHO by Universal Doctor and Netherlands Leprosy Relief as a training and decision support tool for FHWs.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study will be conducted in 2 LMICs: Ghana and Kenya. We will use snowball sampling recruitment to select 48 participants from the target population of all FHWs dealing with skin NTDs. The sample group of FHWs will be asked to download and use Skin NTDs App for at least 5 days before answering a web-based survey containing demographic variables and the user Mobile App Rating Scale (uMARS) questionnaire. A semistructured interview will then be conducted. Quantitative and qualitative data will be analyzed using SPSS (version 25; SPSS Inc), with statistical significance for all tests set at a 95% CI and P≤.05 considered significant. Data derived from the semistructured interviews will be clustered in themes and coded to enable analysis of various dimensions using ATLAS.ti.

RESULTS: The estimated completion date of the study is in the third quarter of 2022. The results are expected to show that Skin NTDs App version 3 has a good reported user experience, as assessed using the uMARS scale. No differences are expected to be found, except for those related to experience in dermatology and the use of mobile technology that could influence the final score. Semistructured interviews are expected to complete the results obtained on the uMARS scale. Moreover, they will be the previous step before assessing other aspects of the app, such as its efficiency and how it should be disseminated or implemented.

CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first step in a qualitative and quantitative assessment of Skin NTDs App as a training and support tool for FHWs diagnosing and managing skin NTDs. Our results will serve to improve future versions of the App.


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Journal Article
Frej A
Cano M
Ruiz-Postigo J
Macharia P
Phillips R
Amoako Y
Carrion C