TWENTY-FIVE health workers from Central province have completed a week of training on essential newborn care, including the promotion of breastfeeding.
The training, which was held at provincial capital Tulagi, included area health supervisors, provincial programme coordinators and clinic nurses from six health zones within the province.
It was jointly organised by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services with the aim to build capacity of health workers caring for newborns and children.
UNICEF maternal newborn care specialist,Shakila Naidu explained this is important for the country because while child mortality in most countries have decreased in past decades, both neonatal and maternal mortality have largely remained the same especially among developing countries and Solomon Islands is no exception.
“It is therefore crucial for strategies addressing this to focus on a continuum of care approach. Ranging from improving access to antenatal care during pregnancy, improved management of normal delivery by skilled attendants, access to emergency obstetric and neonatal care when needed and timely postnatal care for both mothers and newborns to strengthening linkages between the community and health facilities. These are the primary objectives of this workshop,” she said.
UNICEF health consultant, Dr James Auto facilitated the workshop and said:
“There is now evidence that a large proportion of newborn deaths and diseases can be reduced by implementing simple low-cost interventions during delivery and in the period of vulnerability in the days and weeks post-partum both in the facility and at home.
“These essential interventions include drying the new born and keeping the baby warm, initiating breastfeeding as soon as possible after delivery and supporting the mother to breastfeed exclusively, giving special care to low birth weight infants and diagnosing and treating newborn problems like asphyxia and sepsis.”
Training last week focused on caring for newborns at health clinics while this weeks’ session will look at caring for newborns and children in the community and at home.
A similar training was also held for health workers in Makira Ulawa province in July, with the aim of transforming hospitals in these provincial headquarters to achieve Mother-Baby-Friendly status.