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Training packages and patient management tools for staff working with mothers and nutritionally at-risk Infants aged under 6 months: a qualitative Study

Author: Ramona Engler
Year: 2019
Resource type: Report

Background: Malnutrition in infants <6 months is a complex issue and influenced by a multitude of underlying factors. Evidence on best practice of treatment is still limited. Skilled staff is essential to provide successful support. Trainings and tools to facilitate health workers with specific skills to support mothers and infants are important. As guidelines for management and implementation are not standardised, organisations develop their own training material. A variety of different trainings and patient management tools are available. To scale up programmes and their uptake into national guidelines, unanimous messaging is essential. This study aims to improve the management of at-risk mothers and infants <6 months, by summarising and providing improved understanding of currently available trainings and patient management tools.

Methods: Methods are divided in a focused literature review, identifying different trainings available and qualitative research, based on semi-structured interviews with staff (n=9) working at different organisations and have experience with at mothers and at-risk infants <6 months. Interviews were held to provide an insight about perception and use of training tools currently available. Data was analysed using a phenomenological approach.

Results: 15 different trainings were identified. Trainings were delivered in different settings including inpatient, outpatient and emergencies. Differences in curricula were found regarding breastfeeding assessment and assessment of the mother, including mental health and nutritional status. Participants reported gaps regarding counselling skills, time for practice and how to effectively provide mental health counselling.

Conclusion: The delivery of trainings is highly dependent on the resources available and the setting they are delivered in. To ensure optimal patient management trainings should consider the specific needs and limitation of each setting. Emphasis needs to be given on breastfeeding and mental health support as well as counselling. Practical time and refresher trainings as well as monitoring should be standardised to ensure quality of services.

This research was carried out as a final project for the MSc Nutrition for Global Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

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Ramona Engler (2019). Training packages and patient management tools for staff working with mothers and nutritionally at-risk Infants aged under 6 months: a qualitative Study. www.ennonline.net/englermamimscprojectreport

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