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Ministry of Health and Prevention UAE led a coordinated approach to COVID-19 with Totara Learn

The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as a major challenge to all international healthcare systems in 2020. This submission describes the L&D approach used by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), to ensure a well-coordinated and optimal approach across the organization and country.

The Challenge

The pandemic presented a complex, yet interrelated HR challenge that mapped on 3 axes:

  • Knowledge management: With constant updates in international and local recommended approach for diagnosis and disease management, and a widely-distributed MOHAP workforce across 17+ hospitals (normal/new field hospitals) and 71+ clinics, it was crucial to ensure that:
    • New knowledge rapidly replaced outdated knowledge
      • Reliable sources of information were identified and made accessible to staff at all times.
  • Reskilling: Healthcare staff that usually dealt with few, infrequent patients with respiratory or infectious diseases now needed a rapid refresher and regenerated competency in related skills. New telemedicine services, and related skills, also emerged as important learning gaps.
  • Capacity building: Frontline healthcare staff needed augmentation through community volunteers; so, they could concentrate on providing advanced clinical care. This included volunteer medical scholars abroad, who were able to support the local efforts through telemedicine from their respective time zones.
The Solution

The Training & Development Center (TDC) at MOHAP worked with local and international partners, and internal stakeholders towards an integrated solution. Maharati, the MOHAP Learning Management System, was leveraged as an integrator of the different technology and non- technology efforts, into a unified solution tackling different dimensions of the pandemic challenge.

Maharati is the cornerstone of MOHAP’s eLearning infrastructure. It is a Totara-based system, with significant customization, in collaboration with the TDC technology partner Human Logic. The flexibility and open source nature of Totara, allowed significant freedom to adapt and expand in order to face the new challenge.

COVID-19 knowledge management page: The knowledge management section in the TDC used Maharati to ensure rapid access to the latest local guidelines. Other collaborations with international partners including the World Health Organization (WHO), critical care associations, and peer-reviewed scientific journal-publishers, provided a reliable base for up- to-date, dependable information on the care of diagnosed or suspected COVID-19 patients.

Developing internal instructional design capacity: key L&D team members were identified to rapidly train themselves and others, in using advanced instructional design tools, generating a multiplier effect on the efforts of in-house SMEs. This was facilitated by the ease of use of the system and the widely available community support.

National volunteer program to build support capacity: in a collaborative effort between MOAHP, Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, Emirates Foundation, UAE University, and the Ministry of Community Development, a blended learning Healthcare Support Volunteer Program was designed, developed, and implemented. It leveraged Maharati as the host of a standardized e-learning component. Maharati was also used to manage the simulation sessions, course evaluations, completion certificates for the volunteers.

Training volunteers across borders: using Maharati and other tools, UAE medical scholars who were physically present outside the country were also trained to support MOHAP efforts to manage the pandemic, allowing them to contribute to supporting UAE through telemedicine.


In 2020, more than 75% of MOHAP employees utilized the COVID-19 KM page, with more than 217,000 views.

Training numbers continued to be strong despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, with 345,000 contact hours being completed by MOHAP staff; ensuring their continued professional development in areas critical to their work. This training included more than 100 new in-house e-learning courses, and around 200 live, live online and simulation sessions managed through the LMS, targeted specifically at identified areas of need.

Approximately 500 volunteers were also trained, providing meaningful support to the expanded healthcare services provide in clinics, hospitals, and field hospitals.

“Building our Maharati learning management system using Totara gave us significant access to both our staff, as well as others in the healthcare sector during the pandemic. The flexibility of the system allowed us to adapt it to our new needs, and access our target audience in a very cost- effective manner.”

Saqr Ghanem AlHemeiri, Chief Innovation Officer, Director – Training and Development Center

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