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Reassuring and Training Parents at Newborn Care Units. [Updated 7 Jan]

When a baby ends up in a hospital Newborn Care Unit (NCU) or paediatric ward, the anxiety felt by parents is universal. But parents in developing countries often have no practical or psychological support. In Myanmar most parents are not even allowed in the unit, for fear of infections. Nurses and doctors play a vital role in reassuring parents but they ave little time, and limited resources to reassure and teach parents. The idea is to reassure parents and enable them to be part of their child's care. Equipping NCUs with tablets with short videos on early childhood, tips from former NCU parents, explanations by doctors etc. The tablets will be at the heart of a larger early childhood training component.

Photo of Aung Hein
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How will it work?
Each Newborn Care Unit will receive a resource tablet for parents. It will be used for waiting parents at hospitals or during parent support groups. The tablets will consist of:
  • Video clips of former NCU parents sharing their experiences and words of encouragement
  • Video interviews with nurses and doctors explaining the NCU environment (sights and sounds of the machines, smells, etc)
  • Simple animations / photos that explain differences in appearance and behaviour of (sick) infants
  • Tips / video's on how to care for newborns (kangaroo mother care, hygiene, nutrition, warning signs ...).
  • Information on after-care at home. 

Synergies: East Meets West, Hands to Hearts and VSO International

The tablets will create synergies between Hands to Hearts Early Childhood curriculum as well as the healthphone , which already has 2,500 videos in 77 languages. Note that this is off-line technology as smart phones with internet-connections are still very underdevelopped in (rural) Myanmar.
The tablet will serve as a training tool to empower parents with the skills and knowledge to nurture their children during the first five critical years of life. Exprienced volunteers from VSO international will be trained in the Hand to Hearts curriculum, and in turn, they will train - using the tablet - nurses, caregivers and/or parents at various hospitals and communities. Evidently, all videos and resources will be made contextually, culturally and linguistically appropriate. [7 Jan]: The tablets  also function as are resource bank and parents / peer educators can take resources and ECD lessons from the tablet, put it on a memory card, and use it in their own communities.
Why do you think it might succeed?
It will work because there is real identified need for it. The Breath of Life program run by East Meets West is currently operational in 39 public hospitals in Myanmar. It provides life-saving neonatal equipment and training for health care workers. But the parents' anxiety and stress are felt by nurses and doctors every day. Hospitals have already confirmed their interests and cooperation. They believe their units will benefit tremendously from better resources. Volunteer nurses from VSO International will bridge local and international resources. They will also support the trainings in the Hands to Hearts curriculum, after which nurses or parents (m/f) will become certified Peer Educators and conduct sessions for parents at the hospitals. This can then blend into weekly with parent support groups, using the resource tablets.


Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Parents, newborns, children, and staff of 39 hospitals in Myanmar.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

Three things we'll do first: 1) Set up pilot group at one of our focal paediatric hospitals 2) Identify existing and create new resources (former NIC parents, nurses, doctors etc.) 3) Start sharing with parents and build up more resources while testing existing ones. The idea can easily be replicated to other contexts and countries as it uses simple, off-line technologies (video, tablet) and locally available resources (parents, doctors, nurses).

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

Need a video and editing person (initially we can do it ourselves) or company, a design company. Ideally, a company who could sponsor tablets (1 per unit). The other elements are already in place (hospital network, training curriculum, parents, volunteers). We welcome all advice and tips on how to make this work too!

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am ready and interested in testing this idea and making it real in my community.
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Attachments (5)

MM-Amplify Tablet UEM-Dec 2014-1.jpg

Here is our User Experience Map. Check out the cute drawings and meet Aye Aye (23) whose baby was born with jaundice.

MM-Amplify Tablet UEM-Dec 2014-2.jpg

Second part of User Experience Map (UEM). A worried Aye Aye is reassured

MM-Amplify Tablet UEM-Dec 2014-3.jpg

Part 3. Now that Aye Aye is reassured she is open to learn more and receive additional ECD information

MM-Amplify Tablet UEM-Dec 2014-4.jpg

The last part. See how Aye Aye is now a change agent in her community.


Join the conversation:

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I like this idea a lot! It is a great way to improve the relationships with the parents and the staff at hospitals. An addition to this might be transferring the media onto a lower costing device such as television monitors as they would be more familiar with this, such as an interactive DVD.

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