Workshops will be replicated to train additional Haitian health workers
Technical personnel from the 10 hospitals in Haiti where the majority of births occur received training on care for newborns and the use of new neonatal equipment in a course offered in Port-au-Prince by the Latin American Center for Perinatology (CLAP).
The workshop focused on teaching the necessary skills so that Haitian health workers could care for newborns, prevent infections, and deal with nutritional problems and other issues. Training was also provided in the use of new technologies and educational materials so that this seminar could be replicated at other health centers, said Pablo Durán, CLAP advisor on perinatal health. This was the first experience with a course that will be replicated in other parts of the country.
“We are planning to expand training to improve basic, prenatal, delivery, and newborn care,” noted Durán. The planning process with involve other organizations and other work areas of PAHO.
The workshop emerged from discussions held during a CLAP technical meeting in August 2010, where participants noted the need to improve neonatal care in Haiti through training of health workers and procurement of equipment. CLAP held this workshop in early March to address the most critical issues in neonatal care, such as the reception and resuscitation of newborns, early breastfeeding, handwashing, and prevention of hospital-acquired infections.
“On top of Haiti’s already precarious situation, the earthquake created a crisis situation,” said Durán. “This required an intense effort on the part of CLAP. The course focused on giving health workers the tools they need to deal with current conditions in Haiti.”
The course, which ran from 28 February to 4 March, was attended by 22 participants, including nurses, nurse-midwives, pediatricians, and general practitioners representing the 10 main hospitals of Port-au-Prince. All of them work in Port-au-Prince hospitals participating in the free medical services program, with support from Haiti’s Ministry of Health and PAHO. The instructors for the workshop included two neonatologists, CLAP consultants, and a graduate nurse.
The participants attended lectures and then applied what they had learned directly at the hospital, attending to births with the instructors’ assistance.
Since January 2010, Haiti has been hit by successive crises—first the earthquake, which left thousands dead and homeless, and then the cholera outbreak, which also caused many deaths. PAHO has worked in the post-disaster recovery and humanitarian assistance efforts, providing technical cooperation for national health development in conjunction with other international organizations and Haiti’s Ministry of Health.
The mission of CLAP, founded 41 years ago, is to promote, strengthen, and enhance the capabilities of the countries of the Americas to provide health care to families, women, mothers, and newborns, with the involvement of men. It does so by identifying and implementing sustainable solutions as part of a cooperation network, using its own resources or those of other institutions to guarantee the best response for each particular situation.