Since maternal morbidity and mortality is still a major public health issue in Cambodia, birth preparedness, an advance planning and preparation for safe delivery, is widely considered as essential to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality among Cambodian women in the rural areas.  The knowledge on birth preparedness is necessary for not only the pregnant women but also their families and community health staff whose support and involvement is critical to ensure that women can access to safe delivery and to necessary care when labor begins and after delivery.

Caritas Cambodia in collaboration with the National Maternal and Child Health Centre jointly conducted a three-day training on “Birth Preparedness” for Caritas’ community health staff, officers, managers and coordinators. Ms. Sou Sotheany, planning, monitoring and evaluation officer said the training aims to strengthen staff’s competency, knowledge
 
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19 participants gathered for a three-day training on “Birth Preparedness” from 16th -18th May 2018
and understanding of basic health content, wellness protocols, behavior recommendation, and skills to address the preventative of basic case management issues that they will face during  facilitating their work at community households.
As there are many key elements of birth preparedness, Ms. Sotheany,  told the three-day training focuses on three elements of 1/ antenatal and postnatal care, 2/ nutritional education; 3/ community facilitation skill which health staff can transfer knowledge and information to pregnant women for safe delivery. The three sessions are vital and widely recognized as the most effective means of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity.

The training took place from 16th- 18th May 2018 at Caritas Cambodia National office, and gathered 19 participants, 12 of them are female participants. Ms. Chhorn Dany, a community health facilitator from Battambang program said she is happy to attend the training and gained knowledge on maternal and child health care. She added the training helps her to understand broadly on maternal health care.

Women from the remote and rural areas are less likely to get health care and services from the health centers and hospitals. In some villages in Battambang provinces, due to lack of money, the cause of far distance between home to health centers or hospitals, and the limited knowledge on health care are some of the barriers for women to access to the public health services.  Ms. Chhorn Dany, shared the current situation of the villages she has now worked for.  

Community health facilitator has a role as messenger to educate, send message and encourage people to access appropriate health care and services at health facilities. As such, their competency and knowledge must be well-equipped.

 
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“We are not the nurses or doctors. But we are the messengers that has a role to communicate and provide the right information and knowledge to women and their families on maternal health care”, said Ms. Dany, adding that “I will transfer the knowledge to the Village Health Support Group (VHSG) and Mother Support Group (MSG) to continue to educate community people especially pregnant women about health care and risk prevention during pregnancy. More importantly, I will communicate key information on postnatal care including complications for the mother and baby as most women think that after delivery they are totally safe”.

Another participant, Mr. Ly Seng Mai, a community health facilitator from Preah Vihear program said it is the first time for him to attend on birth preparedness training.  He emphasized the training is important for him and other participants because it broadens their knowledge and understanding on maternal health issues, the danger symptoms during pregnancy and post-delivery and preventions to mortality and morbidity. “The knowledge I gained from the training brings me more confidence to continuing my role in educating community people about health care and to support their health’s needs”, claimed Seng Mai.

It is for the first time Caritas partners with the National Maternal and Child Health Centre (NMCHC) to organize the training. Trainers from NMCHC utilize their competent, relevant and up-to-date skill to transmit knowledge to ensure all participants are able to broaden their knowledge and skill. The training is run with a number of methods on slide presentation, group work, learning café table, participatory, case study, role-play, pre and post-test, and end evaluation.

 
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Group work activity on how to provide effective health education to community people
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