INFLUENCE OF TRAINING ON THE PERFORMANCE OF HEALTH PROMOTERS IN MATERNAL, NEWBORN AND CHILD HEALTH EDUCATION IN AKWA IBOM
Maternal, new-born and child mortality have been on the front burner of public health policy makers and implementers for decades especially in developing and under developed countries. The inclusion of Maternal, New-born and Child Health (MNCH) targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) highlights the enormity of the challenge and the efforts taken towards reducing maternal, new born and child mortality in Africa. The MNCH training for health promoters was developed towards improving health promoters’ performance; thus a reduction in maternal and infant mortality. The study therefore examined the influence of training on the performance of health promoters in maternal, newborn and child health education.
Triangulation research design was adopted for the study. The study population comprised 155 health promoters and 43000 mothers in Akwa Ibom State. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to select 125 respondents. Questionnaire, Interview Guide and Focus Group Discussion Guide were the instruments used for data collection. Data collected was summarized, coded, analyzed and presented using frequency distribution tables;charts were generated for the variables. Qualitative data was transcribed, coded and synthesized based on prevalent themes expressed by the interviewees. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to test the hypothesis.
Findings revealed that health promoters in Akwa Ibom used flipcharts, diagram boards, slides, manuals and papers designed specifically for MNCH training. The training environment and duration were discovered to be inadequate for training of health promoters. The instruments of social mobilization used by health promoters were identified as mass media, local traditional heads and mothers’ word of mouth. However, findings from the respondents indicated that socialization was averagely low in the aspect of door to door counselling, involvement of mothers in implementation and monitoring of MNCH programmes. Health promoters noted that the health behaviours of mothers have been positively impacted by health messages disseminated to them. It was discovered the mothers revealed that mothers’ health behaviours were impacted upon by the health promoters, but disagreements exist in the aspect of exclusive breastfeeding where some mothers found it difficult to breastfeed exclusively for six months. From the test of hypotheses with a 0.05 pre-set level of significance, it was discovered that health education and/or social mobilization did not significantly influence mothers’ health behaviour.
The study concluded that the training for health promoters in Akwa Ibom state is to an extent deficient as the health promoters do not significantly influence mothers’ health behaviour. A major obstacle for the MNCH campaign planning and execution was discovered to be funding. This study therefore recommends that health promoters should identify sustainable ways of financing health trainings. Also, consideration should be given to selecting the training environment to ensure proper spacing and suitability for learning. The techniques and strategies for socialization and health education should be revisited in Akwa Ibom State with a strong framework included for testing mothers’ adoption of the health information as a measurement of health promoters’ level of efficiency.
Keywords: Training, Health promotion, Health Education, Social Mobilization, Health Behaviour