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Introduction The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the highly contagious severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is currently accelerating in the southern hemisphere. The clinical management of patients with COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. As there is currently no available treatment the survival of patients with severe COVID-19 (4-5% of all patients) is dependent on supportive therapy. These patients require supportive care such as oxygen therapy, intubation, and ventilation when presenting with complications such as bilateral pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), multiple organ failure and cardiac complications. To respond to the anticipated need for such supportive therapy, there is an urgent need for healthcare professionals to update and refresh their knowledge around all aspects of providing respiratory support. The course will focus on the basics of ventilation in and outside an intensive care setting within the COVID-19 environment in providing non-invasive and mechanical ventilation to identified patients.

Learning Outcomes On achieving this course, a learner will be able to:

  • Describe the need and indications for respiratory support within the context of COVID-19.

  • Implement procedures to minimise contamination and transmission of COVID-19 in respiratory support activities.

  • Discuss in detail indications and procedures for (i) non-invasive and (ii) mechanical ventilation in COVID-19.

  • Analyse ventilator settings in the management of patients on mechanical ventilation referring to specific clinical settings and case studies and relate where indicated to specific ventilator brands.

  • Monitor patients on respiratory support, describe troubleshooting and solutions related to mechanical ventilation in COVID-19.

Who Should Enroll Medical doctors and Registered Nurses (RNs) whose scope of practice allow them to provide respiratory support for patients.

Course Design The How to Provide Respiratory Support for COVID-19 Patients course is a part-time distance (e-learning) short course.

Course Content The following modules are included in this short course:

  • Module 1: Introduction to respiratory support in COVID-19 patients

  • Module 2: Procedures to minimise risk of contamination and transmission

  • Module 3: Non-invasive respiratory support procedures

  • Module 4: Understanding lung physiology, ventilation strategies and how to intubate in COVID-19

  • Module 5: Ventilator settings: Know how to set the ventilator in different clinical settings

  • Module 6: Monitoring patients on respiratory support

  • Module 7: Ethical issues in respiratory support

Assessment Participants are required to complete the assessment component for each module for which a pass rate of 70% is required.

Time The minimum period required for completion is 8 hours.

Certification FPD will award successful participants with a certificate of completion should they successfully complete the assessment process.

Accreditation Accredited according to the HPCSA’s Medical and Dental Board Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals for 11 Clinical CEU’s and 2 Ethical CEU’s on Level 2.

Course Fee Funding was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Right to Care a leading regional South African health systems strengthening organization.

Contact For administrative and content related enquiries, please contact: Dr Margot Uys Head: School of Health Sciences Foundation for Professional Development Email: For technical support, please contact our technical support staff: Tel: +27 12 111 7001 Email:

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