Conference on Home Visiting Services

A way to improve Mother and Children wellbeing and to reach more vulnerable families

24 March 2016

PRISTINA, 24 March 2016 – The Ministry of Health and UNICEF are organising on 24 March 2016 a Conference on Home Visiting services as a way to improve mother and child health and wellbeing. The Conference will take place in Gjilan, in the premises of the local Assembly Building, starting at 9:30.

The purpose of the Conference is to assess the key results achieved, identify best practices and generate lessons learned from the testing of the Home Visiting initiative in Kosovo. Furthermore, the conference will serve as an opportunity to explore next steps, options, approaches and scenarios to expand the model Kosovo-wide.

The speakers will also address issues related to quality assurance of home visiting, identifying appropriate indicators to monitor and evaluate provision of services at community level, integrating and showcasing the value of the real-time monitoring for data collection and analysis, and addressing funding and human resources challenges.

The Ministry of Health implemented with UNICEF support the decentralized approach on primary health care in 5 municipalities (Ferizaj, Prizren, Gjakova, Dragash and Fushe Kosove), as an attempt to address inequities, to increase the efficiency, quality and coverage of mother and child health services, to promote health and wellbeing of young children and their families, particularly those that are among the most vulnerable from a multi-sectoral collaboration perspective. This has resulted in the implementation of home visiting services in 5 municipalities and in the strengthened family medicine systems. Home visiting brought services into the homes, rather than requiring families to seek out services within the community. During the home visits, families receive counselling on a series of issues, including immunization, breastfeeding, families education and early stimulation, injury prevention, responsive and sensitive parenting and maternal health. Home visiting programmes support parents to provide their children with the best start in life , but are also believed to have a positive influence on school performance and economic productivity, particularly in vulnerable populations into adult years.

Since the introduction of home visiting services, end of 2014, 200 nurses across Kosovo have received basic training on home visiting and 64 nurses were directly involved in the implementation of home visiting services in the 5 municipalities, with around 6,000 home visits being conducted in 2015. As a result of the home visits, mothers, parents and caregivers have learned about importance of breasfeeding, correct nutrition, importance of immunisation, improving their child care practices. Existing evidence shows that home visits have effectively contributed to improve health and well-being of at risk children and the most vulnerable families and they have also contributed to increase quality and coverage of mother and child health services.

Ministry of Health and UNICEF will continue their collaboration to improve mother and child wellbeing by increasing the number of health visitors in order to identify, reach and serve families with additional needs, provide critical information and link them as needed, to other social services.

Media contacts

Dafina Zuna
Head of Communications
UNICEF Kosovo Programme

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