404,000 children, mothers in 3 states benefit from Save the Children’s health capacity building project

Save the Children International (SCI), a children charity organisation, says its successful training of 5,250 health workers on new skills has adversely reduced maternal, newborn, child morbidity and mortality in Gombe, Kaduna and Lagos States.

The organisation said at the end of its project dissemination meeting in Kaduna on Thursday that no fewer than 404,000 mothers and children under the age five were reached as a result of the application of improved skills from the training.

Mr Kayode Ajumobi, the Project Manager, said the objectives of the project were to ensure frontline health workers correctly applied improved skills and knowledge in the provision of Maternal, newborn,and Child Healthcare (MNCH) services.

He said the main priority of the project was to address Human Resources for Health (HRH) challenges at facility, community and state levels.

“It is also aimed at creating an enabling policy environment to support the delivery of quality MNCH services.

“It aims to directly build the capacity of 5,000 frontline health workers in the project states of Gombe , Kaduna and Lagos.

“ And indirectly, to ensure at least 404,000 Under five children and their mothers benefit from optimal MNCH services,” he said.

Ajumobi said the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) funded health workers capacity building project training had surpassed its target as it trained additional 250 health worker during the four-year period.

A break down showed that the SCI trained 2,162 representing 41 per cent of the target 5,000 health personnel between 2015 and 2019 in Kaduna State.

According to him, 1, 797 or 34 per cent  workers were trained in Lagos State, while 1,291 or 25 per cent of the target were trained in Gombe State during the period.

He said SCI collaborated with several stakeholders in Kaduna State and enhanced the capacity of frontline health workers to deliver quality maternal, newborn and child healthcare.

“The activities of the Health Capacity Building (HCB) project was premised on the widely held belief among health systems advocates that a well performing health workforce is the most critical determinant of the performance of the health system.

“As many of you may already know, a well performing health workforce is one which has sufficient number of health personnel; distributed in a balanced manner in terms of mix of occupations, levels of care, and geographical area, that is adequately trained, and which is motivated to produce effective and quality services in an efficient manner.

“Based on this belief, the desired improvements in MNCH outcomes will not be realised if the people who deliver the services are not available, do not have the required competencies or tools to perform their work or are not motivated to perform.

“At Save the Children, the HCB project is considered to be our leading advocacy initiative through which we aim to showcase to relevant stakeholders that desired improvements in MNCH services is possible with modest, systematic and sustained investments in the capacity of the health workforce,” Ajumobi said.

Gbenga Ajayeogba, the HCB Project Officer for Kaduna State, said 862 male and 1,300 female health workers comprising of Nurses, Midwifes, Nutrition Officers, health technicians and tutors received the training in the 23 local governments.

Ajayeogba explained that key findings from the project baseline assessment indicated major challenge at the LGAs, including  inadequate technical officers.

“There has been poor sustainability plans in relation to health care interventions by implementing partners, and it is attributed to low involvement of LGAs in the development of health services and as such ownership is not seen.

“The inadequate number of staffs in rural health facilities and LGAs is a factor that affected the delivery of health services

“Community-Oriented Resource Persons play a vital role in immunisation distribution but not much is observed in other areas such as identification of danger signs, referrals.

“Also, lack of training in relevant programmes is observed and linkage to LGA and health facility is very low,” he said.

Mrs Aisha Abubakar, the project’s MNCH Advisor, advised nurses and midwives on the need for continuous education to acquire more skills for effective service delivery to mothers and children in the state.

Abubakar said nurses and midwives would only remain relevant when they got additional skills to apply in improving their service delivery.

She frowned at the concentration of nurses and midwives in facilities within the cities leaving only few in the rural hospitals.

Other stakeholders at the event called on the Kaduna State Government to scale up the remuneration of health workers to boost their morale for effective service delivery.

They said attractive remuneration was key to retention and dedication of workers for better service delivery, especially those posted to the rural areas.

Stakeholders equally appealed to the state government to increase its drug supply to health facilities, especially in the rural communities. (NAN)

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