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Dr Chris Paton works at the Centre for Tropical Medicine in Global Health, University of Oxford. His work around the LIFE project offers simulation based training in low income countries and is aimed at saving lives through innovative use of smartphones and mobile devices.

I’m Chris Paton and I’m a researcher at the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health at the University of Oxford. I did my training in medicine, finished about the year 2000 in the UK. I worked clinically in the UK and in New Zealand, and then I came back to the UK about 6 years ago. I’ve been working here at Oxford University for about 5 years.

My research at the moment is mainly around a project called LIFE, which stands for ‘Life saving Instruction For Emergencies’. The LIFE project is about using new technologies to augment or extend training programmes in low income countries, particularly around the management of emergencies. The first topic that we’re taking is management of emergencies in children. Professor Mike English, who I work with and is a professor in Oxford but also lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya, and his team have been developing face to face training courses for the management of emergencies in children. The LIFE project is taking that training, putting it onto smart phones and low cost virtual reality headsets, and trying to offer simulation based training to health care workers in low income countries. The reason we’re doing is this because we think that by extending training to reach more health care workers, we can enable them to save more lives.

What would I tell young people who are interested in a career in research? If research is something that you are interested in then using new technologies in low income countries is something that we need a lot more research in. We know that there are opportunities there to use things like smart phones, but we don’t have really good research about exactly what works and how we can best implement projects. I think there’s a great future in this kind of health research. Doing research in low income countries is really good fun, you get to meet a lot of interesting people and go to really interesting places, so I’d highly recommend it as a career.

This interview was recorded in December 2017

The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust research programme

The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme has had a major influence on national and international health policy. Research spans a wide variety of topics and disciplines including research on malaria and bacterial and viral infectious diseases, work to map disease risk and intervention coverage and work on research ethics and health systems strengthening.

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