“When the patronage nurse visits, it’s like getting a visit from a family member”

For many new parents, preparing for a new child can also be daunting, with many questions. That’s why the patronage nurses’ home visits are critical


24 July 2018

Preparing for a new baby is a very thrilling time in life and parents want to make sure they are doing everything that is best for their child. For many new parents, the thrill can also be daunting, with many questions. That’s why the patronage nurses’ home visits are critical, especially in the early exhausting weeks while the mother and the baby are getting acquainted. Ljiljana Ivanovska and Bogica Zafirovska, patronage nurses from Kumanovo take their regular visit to the villages in the region of Staro Nagoricane. This time they bring with them a “Guide for parents of children 0 to 3” — the first of its kind developed to support families of young children with advice and information on everything they need to know about health, grow and development of their child.

Families with small children living in remote parts of the country such as mountain villages benefit the most from the visits of patronage nurses.

Anica and her family are greeting the patronage nurses in front of their newly built, unfinished house in the village of Arbanasko.

The patronage nurses Liljana Ivanovska and Bogica Zafirovska visit families with small children in 25 mountainous villages, in the region of Staro Nagoricane, near Kumanovo where houses are dispersed and services kilometers away.

Anica, carrying her newborn in the hands greets Liljana, the head patronage nurse from Kumanovo while her older daughter Sofija and the grandmother Anka observe.

“I really appreciate the help and advice from the patronage nurses. My husband and I take care of our children. We don’t have neighbours nearby and our parents live in another village,” says Anica. “So, when the patronage nurse visits, it’s like getting a visit from a family member.”

Anica reads carefully the section on newborn care from the “Guide for parents of children 0 to 3”.

The Association of Nurses and Midwifes, with UNICEF support, developed a first of its kind “Guide for parents of children 0 to 3”. It has advice and information on things every parent needs to know about nutrition and breastfeeding, immunization, growth development, oral hygiene, child safety, and advise on how to stimulate cognitive, physical, social and emotional development.

The patronage nurse Liljana demonstrates how to gently give massage to ease digestion.

The “Guide for parents of children 0 to 3” includes charts on height and weight measure and development milestones to help families monitor their child growth and development and also help patronage nurses identify signs of developmental difficulties, and provide support to parents and families.

After checking up the newborn baby the patronage nurses and Anica are laughing and chatting friendly.

Establishing relationship of trust and closeness can lead to open talks about all concerns new mothers may have. This is one of the most important things for the patronage nurse.

Checking blood pressure of the grandmother Anka.

“It is important to see where and in which conditions small children grow. We also check up the health status of other family members, such as elderly,” says Liljana Ivanovska.

Liljana and the children during the visit to the family Trajkovski.

Liljana attended all workshop trainings on early detection and intervention of developmental difficulties and is now spreading the knowledge to other patronage nurses as an educator. “Together with the team of educators, I helped transfer the knowledge to some 80 other patronage nurses especially the knowledge on how to assist parents with children with developmental delays, but also general education of parents.”