Save the Children/HCB Trains Health Workers in Lagos

Wednesday 5 October 2016

IMCI facilitators: (left to right) Mrs. Adeboboye, Christianah, Chief Nursing Officer; Dr. Opeyemi Odedere (MNCH Adviser SCI), Dr. Idowu, Dr. Ibukun Olatubosun (Medical- Officer- for- Health, Ojo LGA, Lagos), Dr. Oludara & Dr. Adeleke (Director and Deputy Director, Family Health and Nutrition, Lagos Ministry of Health), and Dr. Okoro (General Secretary, AGPMPN)

As part of its continuing efforts to address the availability and accessibility of a skilled health Workforce in Nigeria, HCB has strengthened its collaboration with the state government through the Ministry of Health and the State Primary Health Care Board to conduct MOH and the PHCB train different cadres of its health workers on a myriad of MNCH interventions including Essential Newborn Care (ENC), Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses, Adverse Events Following Immunisation and Vaccine Management.

The Lagos Advocacy Team recently sat down with some of the facilitators and beneficiaries to get their insight on some of these interventions and their impact. Here is what they had to say about the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI), which took place September 19-24, 2016.

Here are excerpts from the interview with some of the instructors across both the Private and Public Health Sector.

Please can you share some insights about what these past five days training has been about? What makes IMCI different from other trainings? What are its benefits? And, how would you assess the impact of the IMCI training on health workers?

The training is focused on case management of signs and symptoms presented at the primary health care (PHC) level, and how to treat them. IMCI takes care of the causes of under- five mortality such as pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition and measles. The health worker classifies under-5 children into 2 sets: from birth to two months, and two months to five years, then she further checks to know whether it is a first visit or a follow up- after which, she would review implementation. The principle is that for every child that presents at a PHC, the health worker must first check for general danger signs such as not drinking or breastfeeding properly, convulsion, vomiting, lethargy and unconsciousness. Once a health worker is trained on IMCI, she or he is able to identify and classify them using a simple colour code system. Pink means the situation is severe and warrants urgent referral to a secondary health facility; yellow indicates the presence of a problem,that is not severe, and can be managed at the PHC level; Green means there is no problem, it is a normal situation for which the health worker can give advice along with vitamin A supplementation.


IMCI is a holistic approach to child health, which essentially also takes into account the health of the mother. It puts a spotlight on the linkage between maternal and child health. Mothers generally accord greater priority to the health of their children before theirs. However, IMCI ensures that both the child and the mother receive health care at the same time. IMCI is a simple, cost effective and evidence- based approach to child survival. Once taken seriously, IMCI becomes a part of you. With knowledge gained from the training, health workers are able to use a simple intervention to achieve great results. The training teaches health workers to use limited resources wisely. Their knowledge increases day in day out, and they become more efficient. IMCI makes the health worker more confident.     - Mrs Adeboboye Christianah, Chief Nursing Officer at Wasimi PHC, Onigbongbo, Lagos


What would you say are the main highlights of these past five days of training?

Health Workers have been taken through an intensive training to build their capacity and hone their skills in the identification of common signs of illnesses in children under 5 years, and they have been able to classify them and to properly treat them. The training has enabled health workers have learnt innovative ways to end needless child deaths. We have encouraged participants to scale up and are sure that the Government will scale this up. We will also continue to enlist the support of NGOs such as Save the Children to continue to support this laudable training.

-Dr. Ibukun Olatubosun, Medical Officer of Health, Ojo LGA, Lagos and Clinical Instructor.


How would you rate the impact of the IMCI training?  And how do you view this impact on Public Private Partnership in the Lagos Health Sector?

The impact of the training has been enormous, in direct terms with respect to reducing childhood illnesses. It is a positive impact, because it has brought the two sectors to the same page. However, the private sector still needs a lot of direct trainings and support in this regard. Save the Children has done well by organizing this training for the public sector.  I would implore save the Children to do a deliberate sensitization to doctors in the private sector to train their staff on IMCI. That is, to especially arm their low/ minimum cadre staff on IMCI. Save the Children can do this by supporting Continuous Medical Education (CME) lectures for doctors on IMCI via the platform of AGPMPN.                                                              -Dr. Okoro Chinedu C. (General Secretary AGPMPN).