Quality health services for every child in Ungheni and Cahul
Health Centres were equipped with supplies and knowledge to ensure the harmonious development of children
Children from Ungheni and Cahul benefit from improved health services, thanks to the support received by the Health Centres under the “EU4Moldova: Key Regions” Programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP and UNICEF.
Two years ago, two teams of evaluators visited Slobozia Mare, Zîrnești, Crihana Veche, Moscovei, Cornești, Pîrlița, Petrești, Găvănoasa and Ungheni and Cahul cities, mapping the needs of children in primary health care. Shortly afterward, 250 nurses received anthropometric equipment, including portable scales, a stadiometer, and a measuring tape to facilitate home visits of families with newborns or young children.
“Health workers in primary health care play a central role in providing and coordinating services to monitor children’s growth and development from the earliest days of life through adolescence. Early identification of child growth and development problems is the primary and universal opportunity for timely intervention with optimal results”, said Adela Horodișteanu-Banuh, Head of Monitoring, Evaluation, and Integration of Health Services, Institute of Mother and Child.
Since the launch of the program, more than 450 medical workers from all public primary health care institutions in Cahul and Ungheni regions have learned how to monitor healthy child development and pregnant women in ambulatory conditions, as well as how to implement adjusted standards for child growth and development through home visiting programs.
“We learned how to communicate effectively with patients, especially with families at-risk, understand their needs and provide support. The Home Child Monitoring Guide and the modernly equipped portable kits help us monitor children’s growth parameters, identifying problems and addressing them early," said Natalia Filipenco, senior nurse at the Cahul Health Centre.
In 2022, Child Development Offices were opened in 10 primary healthcare facilities. Children’s consultations can now occur in a child-friendly environment that meets their needs and European health standards. Each office has infant pedometers, electronic baby scales, changing tables for newborns, chairs for parents, breastfeeding cushions, tables for children, toys, and books.
The antenatal classrooms, where the new parents are trained, have been refurbished with modern equipment for practical work in the classes - balls, dummies, mattresses, LEDs, and information materials.
“Thanks to the “EU4Moldova: Key Regions” Programme, parents are educated about harmonious growth and care of children, including how to identify developmental delays in the early days of life. Pregnant women learn what to expect in antenatal classrooms when they become mothers. During home visits, we monitor their health, and social background, identify risky behaviors, and protect them”, added Natalia Filipenco.
About 16,000 cards for families with children aged 0-18, with important information for parents on child growth and development, are being distributed to families in Ungheni and Cahul. More than 1000 families have received information booklets for parents, which provide advice on postpartum depression, young child hygiene, language development, vaccination, and prevention of infectious diseases.
Aiming to detect developmental delays in children, more than 100 family doctors and nearly 300 nurses attended workshops where they learned to observe children’s behavioral patterns and guide parents.
Adjusting and updating the Medical Colleges’ curricula with a chapter on “Child Health Growth and Development Standards including home-visiting programs” will bring more positive changes in children’s health in Ungheni and Cahul. So far, 40 lecturers and students have been trained on this topic.
“Ensuring a healthy start to child development and strengthening child health is one of UNICEF’s priority missions. Equipping nurses with modern mobile kits for home visits to families contributes to providing quality health services for every child in Ungheni and Cahul. Regular monitoring of child health by nurses brings several benefits, including one of the most important - early identification of developmental delays and disabilities”, said Igor Codreanu, Health Officer, UNICEF Moldova.
Strengthening health services for children and parents in Cahul and Ungheni will continue in the coming years.
The “EU4Moldova: Key Regions” Programme supports the facilitation of inclusive and sustainable local socio-economic growth and improves citizens’ living standards in Ungheni and Cahul municipalities. The Programme, to be implemented by 2024, has a total budget of €23.3 million.
This article was produced as part of the “EU4Moldova: Key Regions” Programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by the UNDP and UNICEF. The publication’s content belongs to the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.