Innovative Ways to Train Health Workers: Video Series on Newborn and Childbirth Care

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By: Katie Millar, Technical Writer, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The causes of maternal and neonatal mortality are largely preventable. Apart from life-saving commodities, well-trained and skilled health care personnel are key to ending these preventable deaths. But how do we best train staff, especially in remote areas?

Deborah Van Dyke, a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) for over 20 years, recognized the need for innovative training materials for health workers when she witnessed a neonatal resuscitation go poorly. Without her there to step in, the baby would have died. This experience inspired Ms. Van Dyke to develop training modules that went beyond lectures and printed materials. What was her answer?  She established an organization that creates and disseminates instructional videos to teach life saving skills and knowledge in low-resource settings.

This organization, Global Health Media Project, has prioritized maternal and newborn health in its curriculum. Currently there are 20 videos for the Newborn Care Series and three videos for the Childbirth Series, with more anticipated.

The Newborn Care Series is available in English, Spanish, Swahili, French, Nepali, and Khmer. This series provides visual clinical guidelines for training and review on a variety of topics such as physical exam, jaundice, sepsis, and other common problems. These videos are meant to be complementary training tools to established pre-service and in-service education.

In addition to the Newborn Care Series, the Childbirth Series recently launched its first three videos. These videos cover how to give good care during labor, determine the in utero position of the baby, and examine the placenta. This series will have an anticipated 10 videos which demonstrate best-practice care during labor, birth and immediate postpartum. The videos are directed towards midwives and other health workers who work alone in low-resource areas.

Global Health Media addresses the well-known problem of insufficiently trained human resources for health in low-resource settings. Whether you are a health care worker in a low-resource setting or training those who are, please continue to access their website to take advantage of new anticipated material.