Ohio State Builds Capacity In Tanzania With Train-the-Trainers For Newborns

Chaitanya Balasubramanyam Wells to Wellness

Last year, a team of nurse trainers from Ohio State went to Dodoma, Tanzania to train practicing nurses there about critical care for newborns. This August, they went back and taught alongside last year’s alumni to create a group of local professionals capable of saving babies’ lives.

As part of Ohio State’s Greif Neonatal Survival Program, instructors traveled to Tanzania in August to deliver the nurse training at the University of Dodoma (UDOM). The instructors mostly consist of expert neonatal nurses from Columbus-area hospitals who volunteer their vacation time to deliver the trainings.

The course, called the Professional Practice of Advanced Neonatal Care (PPANC) program, combines classroom and experiential learning at the bedside of mothers and their infants. Neonatal nurses from Ohio State work collaboratively in a mentorship role to give their Tanzanian counterparts tools to handle the intensity and critical nature of decision-making within the first moments of life. The program was designed to benefit college-trained nurses and clinical officers in Tanzania who currently work in a neonatal/maternal area, and for whom these advanced skills are immediately applicable.

This was not the first time the program was offered at UDOM: the first cohort of 17 nurses and nurse midwives graduated in 2016.

But this year’s class represented a special opportunity both to train a new group of 11 nurses and to educate 11 previous course graduates on how to train others in advanced neonatal care. Ohio State instructors taught alongside last year’s PPANC graduates learning to be peer trainers. The Train-the-Trainer model proved to be a vital next step in ensuring the sustainability of the program. Incorporating previous course graduates as instructors gave the Tanzanian healthcare professionals practical teaching experience as well as reinforcement of their own clinical skills.

GWI helps to fund this program and supports efforts that strengthen Ohio State’s collaboration with the UDOM. Congratulations to the graduates and to the newly minted trainers!