Training health workers to provide person-centred maternal and newborn health care in Burkina Faso

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Janet Perkins
Aminata Bargo
Cecilia Capello
Carlo Santarelli


Assuring the provision of person-centred care is critical in maternal and newborn health (MNH). As a component of the national strategy to improve MNH, Burkina Faso Ministry of Health, supported by Enfants du Monde, La Fondation pour le Développement Communautaire/Burkina Faso and UNFPA, is implementing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) framework for Working with Individuals, Families and Communities (IFC) to improve MNH. As a first step in district implementation, participatory community assessments were conducted. These assessments consistently revealed that poor interactions with healthcare providers posed one important barrier preventing women from seeking MNH services. In order to address this barrier, healthcare providers were trained to improve their interpersonal skills and in counselling women. During 2011-12 a total of 175 personnel were trained over a 5-day course developed using a WHO manual. The course was met with enthusiasm as providers expressed their need and desire for such training. Immediate post-test results revealed an impressive increase in knowledge and anecdotal evidence suggests that training has influenced provider’s behaviours in their interactions with women. In addition, health care providers are taking concrete action to build the capabilities of women to experience pregnancy and birth safely by engaging directly with communities.  While early findings are promising, an evaluation will be necessary to measure how the training has influenced practices, whether this translates into a shift of perceptions at community level and ultimately its contribution toward promoting person-centred care in Burkina Faso.

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