Kabisa: an interactive computer-assisted training program for tropical diseases

J Van den Ende, K Blot, L Kestens, A Van Gompel, E Van den Enden

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


In Europe, tropical pathology is usually taught in special short courses, intended for those planning to practise in developing countries. The theoretical knowledge to be assimilated during this short period is considerable, and turning such newly acquired knowledge into competence is difficult. Kabisa is a computer-based training program for tropical diseases. Instead of concentrating on strictly tropical diseases, students are trained in recognizing diseases in patients presenting randomly in an imaginary reference hospital in a developing country. Databases are compiled by experts from experiences in various parts of Africa, Asia and tropical America. Seven languages and three levels of competence can be chosen by the student. Updating of all databases is possible by teachers who want to describe a particular setting. A 'consistency checker' verifies the internal consistency of a new configuration. The logical engine is based upon both a 'cluster' and a Bayesian logic, with built-in corrections for related disease characteristics. This correction allows calculated probabilities to stay closer to real probabilities, and avoids the 'probability overshoot' that is inherent to 'idiot Bayes' calculations. The program provides training in diagnostic skills in an imaginary second-line setting in a tropical country. It puts tropical and cosmopolitan diseases in perspective and combines applied clinical epidemiology and pattern recognition within varying sets of presenting symptoms. Students are guided in searching for the most relevant disease characteristics, in ranking disease probability, and in deciding when to stop investigating.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Education
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)202-209
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • B780-tropical-medicine
  • Computer assisted instruction
  • Software
  • Tropical medicine
  • Training
  • Belgium
  • Europe-West
  • Computer systems
  • Teaching methods
  • Kabisa


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