The first 21 professionals to graduate from the Specialization Program for Nurses in Low-Risk Maternal and Neonatal Health and Family Planning in the Dominican Republic were invested by the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), in a virtual ceremony led by Dr. Emma Polanco, rector of the university.
The implementation of the program was developed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), through the Department of Women and Newborn Health Promotion of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Chile, together with the School of Nursing of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), the Ministry of Public Health (MSP) and the National Health Service (SNS).
The program is supported by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Project HOPE and the Fundación Popular.
In 5 modules developed over 1 year, this new health professional gained knowledge focused on the acquisition of skills in low-risk pregnancy control, assistance to women in the process of childbirth, newborn care, normal puerperium and family planning, as well as contraceptive counseling and technology.
In addition, this training action highlighted contents oriented to the promotion, prevention, identification and timely referral of alterations during the process of pregnancy, childbirth, puerperium and the newborn.
Dr. Alma Virginia Camacho, UNFPA regional sexual and reproductive health advisor, said, “It has taken more than 430 hours of work for the nursing graduates to complete this training”, while thanking the MSP and the SNS for believing in the initiative and for the commitment and support provided.
Dr. César López, president of the Dominican Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology defined it as a luxury that our country now has obstetric and neonatal nurses. “A whole country is relying on you, your skills and your training to achieve great changes,” he said.
Regarding this new professional profile, the director of Maternal-Child and Adolescent of the SNS, Dr. Martin Ortiz, said that it is the intention of the executive direction of the SNS to place these professionals in second level hospitals, where more support is needed so that patients do not arrive at the third level in the conditions in which they are arriving.
The nurses had the opportunity to carry out clinical practices with high fidelity anatomical models at the Hospital Universitario Maternidad Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (HUMNSA), one of the health centers selected for this training, as part of the Model Hospital Project for the Reduction of Maternal-Neonatal Mortality in the Dominican Republic that is implemented there in coordination with the Ministry of Public Health and the National Health Service, and the support of the Fundación Popular and UNFPA.
“It is the first step, I hope, of a change of mentality at the level of the entire health sector, to understand the important role that obstetric and neonatal nurses have in this care. We know perfectly well, and all the statistics say it, that without them great results cannot be achieved. For this reason, it is important that during their training they are granted temporary work leave or that they only work part-time,” said Rosa Elcarte, UNICEF resident representative.
In this regard, Dr. Rosel Fernandez, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the UASD stated that “It is a social commitment of the UASD with the community to participate in reducing the terrible rate that hurts every time a woman dies due to lack of prevention.
In order to give continuity to this first competency-based training program developed in the country, the UNFPA Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, through the University of Chile, is providing the training course for the faculty of the UASD, in order to start next year with the training of a second group of this staff specialized in gynecological obstetric and neonatal care.