UNICEF and UKAID support training of RHMs on maternal and newborn care

500 RHMs from numerous communities around the country will be engaged on maternal and newborn care activities

Thabiso Monageng
People seated listening to a trainer
UNICEF Eswatini/2020
18 August 2020

The Ministry of Health Rural Health Motivators (RHM) Programme with support from UNICEF and UKAID trained RHMs on maternal and newborn health (MNH). The trainings were aimed at capacitating RHMs with information on maternal and newborn care and ultimately decrease maternal and newborn mortality. Over the month of August and early September, 500 RHMs from numerous communities around the country including Ndzingeni, Mandlangempisi, Maphalaleni, Mhlangatane, Mayiwane, Mkhiweni, Kwaluseni and Mtfongwaneni will be engaged on maternal and newborn care activities.

The RHM through the training will have the knowledge on key maternal and newborn areas, especially on identification of danger signs in mothers and babies. Annually, the RHMs visit 44,102 households, and attend to 13224 pregnant women (Community report, 2018). These mothers will be provided with quality information on not only pregnancy but providing essential care for newborn that will contribute to a reduction in deaths at the community level.

People seated listening to a trainer
UNICEF Eswatini/2020
A section of the RHMs at Kwaluseni Inkhundla during one of the sessions with their trainer Mr. Gijimani Dlamini.

Speaking during one of the sessions at Madlangemphisi Inkhundla, Mr. John Myeni, RHM Programme Manager, highlighted that there are 20 deaths per 1000 births in the country. "Data shows that Eswatini has high numbers of newborn deaths as well as maternal deaths from preventable causes. So, training RHMs on maternal and newborn health will help to improve the health status of our mothers and newborn children.", remarked Myeni appreciating UNICEF and UKAID for supporting the training.

3 women standing wearing masks
UNICEF Eswatini/2020
Glory Tshabalala, Dudu Mdluli and Thandi Hlophe who are Rural Health Motivators in Manzini, Kwaluseni Inkhundla wearing UNICEF procured t-shirts branded with COVID-19 messages.

The training will capacitate the RHMs to be able to identify danger signs and women who need care and further refer them to health facilities for appropriate interventions. Nonjabulo Dlamini who is the trainer for Hhohho North emphasized the importance of the training stating that besides being capacitated, the RHMs have been able to share challenges their communities are experiencing with regards to maternal and newborn care. One of the challenges they highlighted was the issue of homebirths which have devastating effects on pregnant women and newborn babies due to the lack of appropriate care during the process.

Kwaluseni is another community where RHMs have been engaged on maternal and newborn health. According to Mr. Gijimani Dlamini who was the trainer at Kwaluseni, this densely populated community located in the industrial town of Matsapha has a lot of pregnant women and newborn babies. “This is an urban community, but it is inhabited by a lot of vulnerable children and pregnant women who need care.”, commented Dlamini after one of the sessions at Kwaluseni Inkhundla. Dlamini further mentioned that the training will motivate the RHMs to engage their communities more because they have been empowered with new information.

“Going forward, we will continue to monitor the work of the RHMs and analyze the reports of the homesteads they have engaged to ascertain the state of maternal and newborn health in the community,” stated Dlamini on the last day of the trainings at Kwaluseni. Over the next four weeks, the trainings which are supported by UNICEF through UKAID will continue in other communities around the country as an intervention aimed at reducing maternal and newborn mortality in the country.