First graduates pilot course Mother, Infant & Family Health for community health workers in Cairo, Egypt

The 1st of November 2018 was a very special day for 12 community health workers, living and working in “Garbage City”, Manshiet Nasser, one of the biggest garbage collectors settlements in Cairo, Egypt. After many months of hard work, lots of study, and great perseverance, the community health workers finished the first pilot training course Mother, Infant & Family Health and received their well-deserved certificate.

The objective of the training course is to create a self-sustaining Baby Well Centre which will improve the health and welfare of the mothers and babies of Manshiet Nasser. The training course consists of 18 modules, including a wide range of topics such as newborn care, nutrition, childhood diseases, breast feeding, maternal health and family planning. Many practical skills are learned like weighing, head measuring, swaddling, vital signs and cleaning the umbilical cord or eyes. In addition, knowledge based modules like how the body works, spread of infection and diseases and immunization are all important for the understanding of infant health. With the course the community health workers are better equipped to serve their community and educate mothers to a basic level of knowledge of hygiene, general health care, vaccinations and other health matters to improve the health of all members of their families.

The Baby Well Project and the training course was developed and implemented by an experienced national and international training team in collaboration with APE (Association for the Protection of the Environment) and Health[e]Foundation. With the diversity and specific knowledge of the team, the project became a reality and phase two of setting up a Baby Well Centre can be started. The training was given at APE, located in the heart of Garbage City, and dedicating all their work to improve the living conditions of the people living in Manshiet Nasser and to restitute some of their human dignity. This will also be the place where the Baby Well Centre will be established.

Anna Blok-Versteeg, one of the initiators of the project, and a freelance consultant for Health[e]Foundation, was living in Egypt for 4 years. This summer she moved back to The Netherlands after being abroad for almost 20 years. From The Hague she will continue to support the Baby Well Project and Health[e]Foundation.