Coaching health practitioners to fight life-threatening communicable diseases in Afghanistan

Coaching health practitioners to fight life-threatening communicable diseases in Afghanistan

Group photo of participants of the Communicable Diseases.

Communicable diseases are a major cause of concern in low-income countries where poor education and awareness, unsustainable lifestyles, poor hygiene and sanitation, lack of palatable water and poor nutrition are contributing factors towards higher morbidity and mortality rates. Diarrheal Disease, Acute Respiratory Tract Infection (ARI), and Malaria, being most life threatening, are highly prevalent in many low-income countries.

These communicable diseases are recognized as very common in Afghanistan and have led to increased morbidity rates in the country in recent years. Since HMIS[1], recently reported that malaria, ARI and diarrhea are all highly prevalent diseases in the area that we work with under our PSMNCH[2], Community World Service Asia prioritized the training on communicable diseases for its nurses and midwives working at the project health centers. Awareness and techniques on diagnosing and preventing anemia, pelvic inflammatory diseases, STD (Sexual Transmitted Disease) and HIV were also included in the training. The training was conducted in two batches, one of six midwives and another of six nurses, of three days each in late August at the Laghman Public Health Directorate.

The training aimed at enhancing and refreshing the expertise of the midwives and nurses on communicable diseases, which would enable them in easily identifying, managing and referring patients to specialists and other hospitals. The trainings were led and facilitated by in-house experts on HMIS and Reproductive Health.

Participants of the training were briefed on the diagnosis and management of different kinds of diarrhea and on the symptoms and cure of dehydration. They were also provided with Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses charts, which displayed the management processes of dehydration. The training ensured that all midwives and nurses were taught about the types, signs, complications and cure of malaria.

During the session on ARI, participants learned about the causes and preventive measures of common cold, pneumonia, sever disease, otitis, and pharyngitis. Participants further discussed the diagnosis and cure of ARI as per the National Standard Treatment Guideline (NSTG). Copies of the NSTG were also provided to the midwives and nurses. The session on anemia enabled participants to diagnose and control anaemia in pregnant and lactating women.

Guidelines including the National Standard Treatment guideline, malaria national treatment protocol and other MoPH[3] standard guidelines were shared with the participants, which would facilitate them during Out Patient Department (OPD) consultations.

Midwives and nurses were updated on new treatment and diagnostic protocols. Their skills and knowledge on clinical practices, existing gaps of diagnosis and treatment of common diseases were enhanced and made more effective.

Participants’ Voices:

The training was very useful for all of us. We largely learnt about common diseases. Anemia is much common among women of Ghaziabad. The training has equipped us with skills to provide efficient services to combat various disease, especially anemia. – Gulzai, midwife of Ghaziabad health facility.

Capacity building opportunities are always helpful for efficient work. We appreciate the opportunities provided to us, allowing us to stay updated with standard guidelines. This training has helped enhance our knowledge and skills on communicable diseases. I would recommend diverse training on other diseases recorded in the Health Management Information System reports. Gulrahman nurse of Shmam-o-Ram health facility.

I have visited several health facilities of Community World Service Asia and the quality of services has been improving frequently. These refresher trainings have contributed immensely in the proficient performance displayed by all the health staff at the health facilities. – Deputy Public Health Director of Laghman Public Health Directorate.

[1] Health Management Information System

[2] Partnership for Strengthening Mother, Newborn and Child Health project (PSMNCH)

[3] Ministry of Public Health