HealthBridge builds capacity of health workers in northwestern Vietnam
In early November the HealthBridge Maternal, Newborn and Child Health team delivered a four-day training program to healthcare providers in Son La province of Vietnam. This TOT– or training of trainers – was a component of our project Saving Lives of Mothers and Children in Vietnam and Nepal. The training was delivered to 17 people, including members of the Son La provincial Reproductive Health Care Centre, Son La Medical College, district health centres of Thuan Chau and Yen Chau, and commune health centres.
The training included instruction on clinical best practices for labour and delivery, as well as antenatal, postpartum and newborn care. Teaching aids allowed not only visual demonstrations, but also provided each participant with hands-on learning opportunities for the clinical techniques being taught.
Social and clinical barriers to better care discussed
The curriculum covered social as well as clinical barriers to improving delivery of maternal and child health care in Son La province. Key gender issues that were identified in the project’s baseline research were discussed, using an approach that encouraged participants to think critically about the issues and suggest feasible strategies to address them.
For example, the group discussed the need to counsel both husbands and wives together during antenatal care visits (the current practice is to only counsel women). This will improve women’s access to health care, strengthen families’ birth planning and encourage men’s involvement in supporting women’s health needs during pregnancy.
These four days not only improved knowledge and skills among participants, but also prepared them to become trainers themselves. Attendees at the TOT training have already organized five training sessions for village health workers, which they will deliver in Thuan Chau and Yen Chau Districts of Son La in December.
This network of local health trainers will play a vital role in strengthening the capacity of health workers and improving the quality of maternal and child health services in their communities.