Online Program

Development of a public health nutrition workforce: Nurses and midwives in Ghana

Monday, November 2, 2015

Alice Nkoroi, MS, Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III Project (FANTA), FHI 360, Washington, DC
Penelope Nestel, PhD, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Amanda Yourchuck, MPA, MAIR, Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III Project (FANTA), FHI 360, Washington, DC
Jacqueline Landman, PhD, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Melanie Spears, MSc, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Kavita Sethuraman, MS, PhD, FANTA Project, FHI 360, Washington, DC
Background:  Nutrition competency of nurses/midwives is central to delivering effective public health. To strengthen the nutritional competencies of Ghana’s Registered Midwives, Registered General Nurses, Registered Community Nurses, and Enrolled Community Health Nurses we reviewed pre-service curricula and assessed competencies of nutrition tutors. 

Methods: Training Needs Analysis (TNA) was conducted with 11 tutors in 9 nursing/midwifery training centres for 3 main geographic zones. Tutor competencies were assessed through Objective Structured Clinical Examinations. Training centre curricula were mapped against the nutrition content stated in the 2007 Nurses and Midwives Council of Ghana curricula.

Findings: Tutors’ average knowledge scored highest for preventing micronutrient deficiencies (71%) and basic nutrition (45%), but low for out/inpatient management of severe acute malnutrition (0%/7%), maternal nutrition (11%) and breastfeeding/lactation (22%). Average scores were 64% for knowledge of and 20% for skill in assessing nutrition status, 52% for knowledge of and 3% for complementary feeding counselling skills. Tutors had no updates on current nutrition policies/strategies. In curricula mapping, basic nutrition courses did not link with applied nutrition courses. The essentials for practice: weighing scales, arm-circumference tapes, BMI wheels, counselling tools, nutrition guidelines, and treatment protocols were not universally available in training centres.

Interpretation: TNA findings were used to design resource packs to support tutors to teach nutrition to modern standards, aligned with Ghana’s National Nutrition Policy priorities; including lesson plans, practical activities and reference materials.  Curricula mapping informed the 2014/15 Ghana Nursing and Midwifery Council pre-service curricula core nutrition competencies for assessed programs. Tutors also underwent updated nutrition trainings.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Describe process of identifying gaps in knowledge and skills of tutors responsible for teaching nutrition to key cadres of frontline health workers. Identify the necessary teaching materials required by nutrition tutors to effectively teach national nutrition competencies to students. Evaluate completeness and accuracy of nutrition curricula against national nutrition competencies and guidelines

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Public Health Curricula & Competencies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Advisor for the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project III (FANTA), funded by USAID, at FHI 360. I have worked internationally for 20 years in Africa, Asia, and Latin America with MCH nutrition and gender issues. I have no conflict interest.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.