Cancer Communication Research Center

Why can good, direct training of low-level healthcare and public health workers have such dramatic effects? I think it's because workers don't often get acknowledgement or attention for the importance of their work, so on those rare occasions when they're singled out and asked to help in improvement initatives, they take the responsibility very seriously. Two recent studies show how important low-level health workers can be when trained: (1) hospital birth attendants, selected purposively for being influential among their peers in 19 Argentina and Uruguay hospitals, produced dramatic improvements in use of evidence-based birthing practices (see Althabe et al, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine 358(18): 1929-1940). The behavioral intervention with the birth attendants was multifaceted but it centered on selecting the "right" attendants, simple training, and simple reminders. A second study just reported by the New York Times (May 9, 2011) is equally impressive. In this study (2) midwives from 18 Zambian clinics were taught a basic course in newborn care and encouraged to talk with their colleagues too. This pilot cost $20,244 and saved 97 lives. $208 per infant! Now that's worth the investment.

Jim Dearing
Director/PI, CCRC

Written by CCRC at 13:16




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