Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.
A newly formed partnership between Edith Cowan University, the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, a College of Nursing and two major hospitals in Bangkok is building capacity within Thai Nurses to manage mental health problems and HIV/AIDS. The partnership, funded through the AusAID Public Sector Linkages Program is developing and delivering these training programs in three phases. The first two phases support the development of the curriculum and planning for the course delivery, with Phase 3 being the delivery of a four month certificate course in each of the specialist areas, mental health and HIV/AIDS, to local Thai Nurses. The program provides the opportunity for senior Thai Nurse Educators to gain insight into the Australian perspective of the relevant specialist areas as well as the broader Australian health system. Participants have then been able to review the course curricula and teaching methodologies, including additional and revised information and strategies as is relevant to the Thai health environment. An integral component of the program is evaluation. Following completion of the courses, nurses will be followed up on return to their workplace, to assess the impact of the course on the work practices of nurses. The program evaluation will support better understanding of emerging issues for all program partners and provide a strong basis for refinement of the program for future delivery. At the time of the ECU-COM 2006 conference, the program will be at the stage where the Thai nurses are completing the four month course. This paper will discuss the progress of the program to date, from the perspective of the Australian program partner.