Nurse trainers from the Vila Central Hospital and Malampa Province have attended a one week training conducted by the Reproductive Maternal, Newborn Child and Adolescent Health (RAMNCAH).

These nurses will then train the village health workers to upskill knowledge on caring for the sick children in communities.

The training is in line with the RAMNCAH Policy and Implementation Strategy 2017-2020 which outlines the country’s strategic approaches to improving health outcomes for children and meeting its targets of reducing the child mortality rate to less than 25 per 1000 live births per year and to also reduce stunting by 20%.

The training helped to identify early signs of stunting and serious illness in a sick child up to 5 years. It also educates on how best to refer children with diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia, or fast breathing to the health facility for more care and also allows Village health workers to conduct pre-referral to stabilize the sick child before they can be referred to a health clinic or hospital as part of the strategy called Integrated Management of Childhood Illness.

The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) is recognized as an important strategy to improve child health in Vanuatu as documented in the Vanuatu RMNCAH Policy and Implementation Strategy.

At the end of the training, participants will be able to:

  • Identify signs of common childhood illness and danger signs in children and test children with fever for malaria, and identify malnutrition.
  • Identify danger signs in babies
  • Decide whether to refer babies or children to a health facility or to help the families treat their children at home.
  • Assess breastfeeding and advise on care for the normal baby
  • Measure weight and identify and advise on care for the small baby
  • Help families provide basic home care and to teach them how to give ORS solution and zinc for diarrhea, an antimalarial medicine for children with fever who test positive for malaria, and an antibiotic for cough with fast breathing.
  • Begin treatment on children that need a referral and assist families in taking their babies and children for care to a health facility
  • Counsel families to bring their babies or children right away if they become sicker, and to return for scheduled follow-up visits.
  • Identify the progress of children on a scheduled follow-up visit and ensure good care at home; and, if children do not improve, refer them to the health facility.
  • Develop a Community Engagement Action Plan to improve the health of babies and childreUse a Sick Child Recording Form to guide the tasks in caring for a sick child and to record decisions and actions.

The training was conducted as part of the approach to provide upskill service to the community. The implementation of IMCI to ensure that Vanuatu has in place standard guidelines to address the case management of sick children.