CAMEROON Newborn Care Course
Cameroon has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. We hope to bring this rate down by teaching the Newborn Care Course to local midwives, nurses and doctors and by training Cameroonian instructors to continue this work in the future. The Newborn Care Course has been taught in the anglophone region of Cameroon since 2014. It was put together by the Advanced Life Support Group and Maternal and Childhealth Advocacy International and further honed by the instructors with input from learners’ feedback in 2015 and 2016. Material covered is extensive – newborn life support, kangaroo mother care, recognition of the sick baby, seizures, jaundice, sepsis, feeding the premature baby, managing the dying baby, use of the oxygen concentrator and homemade bubble CPAP for respiratory support, handwashing and infection control. The teaching methods include lectures, small group workshops, scenario and skills stations.
The learners are used to lectures and also speak up freely in small group workshops, giving us as instructors an invaluable glimpse into their working lives. Scenario teaching and the skills stations are new to them as teaching methods, and were a little intimidating to some initially.
One candidate wrote “I panic a little because was under supervision. People were around me to see my errors.”
However, they learnt to help each other and feedback from the courses has shown that the learners now feel more confident in their knowledge of newborn care. They particularly valued the practical sessions. For example: “ With the work station (on recognizing the sick infant) I know I could actually be able to recognize these sick infants. The exercise was really helpful”
So far 90 midwives and nurses from a variety of different hospital and community settings, some government and some faith based, have completed the formal Neonatal Care Course. In addition we have been able to give some training to 70 nursing and midwifery students and also to medical students.
The courses have been taught in English in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon (which are Anglophone). Some of the candidates have been French speakers and have been helped by one of our instructors who can also teach in French.