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Publications

A cascade model of mentorship for frontline health workers in rural health facilities in Eastern Uganda: processes, achievements and lessons

Future Health Systems

Ajeani J, Ayiasi RM, Tetui M, Ekirapa-Kiracho E, Namazzi G, Kananura RM, Kiwanuka SN and Beyeza-Kashesya J (2017) A cascade model of mentorship for frontline health workers in rural health facilities in Eastern Uganda: processes, achievements and lessons, Global Health Action, 10:sup4, 1345497

Abstract

Background: There is increasing demand for trainers to shift from traditional didactic training to innovative approaches that are more results-oriented. Mentorship is one such approach that could bridge the clinical knowledge gap among health workers.

Objectives: This paper describes the experiences of an attempt to improve health-worker performance in maternal and newborn health in three rural districts through a mentoring process using the cascade model. The paper further highlights achievements and lessons learnt during implementation of the cascade model.

Methods: The cascade model started with initial training of health workers from three districts of Pallisa, Kibuku and Kamuli from where potential local mentors were selected for further training and mentorship by central mentors. These local mentors then went on to conduct mentorship visits supported by the external mentors. The mentorship process concentrated on partograph use, newborn resuscitation, prevention and management of Post-Partum Haemorrhage (PPH), including active management of third stage of labour, preeclampsia management and management of the sick newborn. Data for this paper was obtained from key informant interviews with district-level managers and local mentors.

Results: Mentorship improved several aspects of health-care delivery, ranging from improved competencies and responsiveness to emergencies and health-worker professionalism. In addition, due to better district leadership for Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH), there were improved supplies/medicine availability, team work and innovative local problem-solving approaches. Health workers were ultimately empowered to perform better.

Conclusions: The study demonstrated that it is possible to improve the competencies of frontline health workers through performance enhancement for MNH services using locally built capacity in clinical mentorship for Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC). The cascade mentoring process needed strong external mentorship support at the start to ensure improved capacity among local mentors to provide mentorship among local district staff.