Patronage nurses join efforts to prevent child abandonment, violence, neglect and dysfunctional parenting

26 July 2018
UNICEF officer for health and nutrition Danche Nikovska Gudeva speaks at the training of trainers - a group of patronage nurses selected for the first round of capacity development activities, that will be responsible for onpassing the accumulated knowledge and skills to their colleagues

SKOPJE, 9 July 2018:  The Association of Nurses and Midwifes, with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) kicked off a new series of training workshops for patronage nurses focused on supporting families in nurturing emotional, social and intellectual development of children in the most important years of life.

The new initiative is part of an effort to further strengthen the health sector’s role in reducing the risk of child abandonment and reducing violence, neglect and dysfunctional parenting.

“From the moment they are born, children are biologically programmed to move towards their parents. It is within deep nourishing attachments with primary caregivers that children’s emotional, cognitive and social development occurs,” said Mr. Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Representative. “When a child is emotionally rejected or when they experience chaos and violence in the home, it derails their development, their self-esteem and their ability to learn. That is why home visiting patronage nurses are crucial in helping parents develop skills in positive parenting and building secure attachment.”

“Patronage nurses are the first health professionals visiting the family of a newborn baby and the first who offer advice on child care,” said Ms. Velka Lukic, President of the Association of Nurses and Midwifes. “This new focus aims to give patronage nurses the knowledge and skills to help parents beyond what we are accustomed to – not only give advice on health, growth and physical development, but also emotional and cognitive development.”

The training workshops will be rolled out through a cascade model. Those participating in the master training programme will develop skills in training their peers in the neuroscience of affect and parent-child attachment, patterns of parent-child attachment, including transgenerational patterns of attachment. It is envisioned that one third of the patronage nurses will be trained over the course of the year, and the remaining in 2019.  

This new capacity development initiative is part of the ongoing cooperation between UNICEF and the Association of Nurses and Midwifes and builds on earlier work in early detection and intervention of development delays and support to families of children with disabilities and parenting information on health, growth and development of children 0-3 years.

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