Universal and progressive model launched to support nurses and paediatricians
Home visiting model is one of the best ways to provide the best early childhood experiences.
Within the partnership between UNICEF, the State Agency for Mandatory Health Insurance (SAMHI) and TABIB, with the financial support of the European Union, a new "Strengthening Patronage Services" programme was launched in Shirvan, Agjabadi, Absheron and Ganja districts.
The project's initial phase began with an extensive training package on resource modules that reached 120 nurses and paediatricians. During the training, specialists were provided with detailed information on early childhood development, the new role of the nurses in the patronage services, primary health care, breastfeeding and nutrition, fathers' involvement in child development, and a safe environment.
The universal progressive home visiting model is one of the most effective ways to provide the best early childhood experiences. The objective of the model is to strengthen services provided by patronage nurses during visits to the homes of families with young children and to support parents by also assessing the environment in which children live.
The model is supported by UNICEF and WHO globally, recognizing young parents` critical role in the health and development of their newborn babies up until the age of attendance to educational facilities (e.g., kindergartens or other pre-school settings).
Evidence shows that supporting and educating parents on childcare is the most effective and efficient way of ensuring positive child development. Home-visiting services by patronage nursing services are known to be the best option for young families. Therefore, strengthening services of patronage nurses through investment in their skills, knowledge and motivation, is among the best-buy interventions to improve child health and nutrition, support child development and early stimulation, reduce childhood trauma in households and achieve overall improvement on child care and management of sick children.
One of the additional benefits of the home-visiting model is parents` well-being, increased level of satisfaction with health services and improved indicators on breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding.
Already over 2,000 families and children are benefitting from the new home-visiting model, since April 2021. Similar to other countries` experience with the home-visiting model, a higher rate of exclusive breastfeeding, immunization uptake, improved management of minor childhood illnesses, overall improvement of childcare by parents and positive parenting practices are expected to gain momentum in Azerbaijan.