The New Times (Kigali)

4 April 2011

Rwanda: Health Workers Trained in Emergency Treatment for Children

Up to 30 health workers from district hospitals within Kigali City, on Friday, concluded a five-day specialized training course on vital emergency treatment for children below the age of five.

The course - Emergency Triage Assessment plus Treatment (ETAT+), was first developed in Malawi and Kenya.

One of the trainers - Dr. Boniface Osano, a Kenyan Pediatrician, told The New Times that previous research conducted in Kenya pointed out ways how to mitigate the five key causes of death to babies - pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea malnutrition and child infections before the first month.

"We developed a way of ensuring that children do not die within the first 48 hours of admission. Many deaths occur within the first day," Osano said, explaining that ETAT+ was first introduced in Kenya by the World Health Organization 10 years ago.

"The first thing that you need to know is - who is the sickest child in the queue? Take care of the emergencies first, and then others can follow," Osano said.

Alphonse Mutabaruka, one of the health workers from Gitega Health Centre said that the training gave them techniques of improving service delivery.

"This seminar will enable us to improve services at our health centre because initially, we didn't know how to select patients," Mutabaruka said.

"We were taught how to select by looking at priority signs of patients in the waiting room. That is, looking for patients who are sicker than others. Previously, we used to just give all patients numbers, and treat them depending on who arrived first."

Liliane Mutoni, a mid-wife from Kibagabaga hospital said: "We have learnt important new approaches of how to resuscitate babies born with breathing and heart problems."

Dr. Blaise Uhagaze, the director of the health programme funded by the Belgian Technical Committee (BTC), in Kigali City said that over Rwf7million was injected into the project.

Care provided to sick children in each hospital will be periodically audited. This will enable critical analysis of assessment and initial management of sick children and their outcomes.

Another training session is scheduled for June and another at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), next year.

The plan is to ultimately have local health workers who are qualified to train others, for long-term sustainability.

ETAT+ courses were first facilitated by Imperial College Healthcare Trust London and Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) or the Welcome Trust Research Programme in Paediatrics, of University of Nairobi, Kenya.

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