Continuous education for newborn care re-established (11 March 2011)
Tetovo, March 11, 2011 The United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with the Ministry of Health re-established an in-service training programme to improve newborn care. The programme is designed to help ensure health practitioners have the knowledge and skills to put into practice the recently developed clinical guidelines on mother and child health care.
“Guidelines help health care professionals in their work, but they are meaningless if they can’t be applied,” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative.” This continuous education programme promises to ensure the latest clinical guidelines can be put into practice for the benefit of children,” continued Mr. Yett.
The training programme builds on the latest clinical guidelines for the treatment and care of newborns. The guidelines were developed with UNICEF’s technical support, and endorsed by the Ministry of Health in 2010. The guidelines cover issues as varied as new practices in the early detection of congenital anomalies, the resuscitation of newborns and guidelines for treating premature born children.
“Knowledge is not static. In-service training programmes need to ensure students have access to the most up to date information if outcomes for children are to be improved” said Mr. Yett.
The concept of in-service continuous professional development was introduced in the country in 2001. Despite contributing to a 30% reduction in infant mortality in the three years during which the programmes were implemented, in-service training programmes on newborn care have not been available since 2004. To further reduce infant mortality, the National Safe Motherhood Strategy recommended reviving this specific training programme on newborn care.
“Having the latest medical equipment and well-equipped refurnished premises is not enough for ensuring good quality health care. Without trained staff we will not be able to follow the development of medical science and to improve professional performance,” said Mr. Bujar Osmani, Minister of Health.
The in-service training programme was the first programme offered in the new training center for continuous medical education in the Medical Faculty at the State University of Tetovo. Some thirty doctors and nurses working with newborns in the maternity hospitals in the northwest region of the country including Tetovo, Gostivar, Kicevo, Debar, Kumanovo and Skopje will attend the programme in 2011.
In addition to supporting the rollout of this programme in other regions in the county, UNICEF will support the revival of a continuous medical education programme for gynecologists and obstetricians, and will work with medical academic institutions in the country to improve pre-service teaching curricula in the area of mother and child health care.