Plans for an ICM project which would make an effective and appropriate contribution to the global fight against HIV and AIDS have been in development for some time. The selection of this health issue as a focus for ICM action is based on the knowledge of the rising numbers of women affected by HIV and the devastating impact on the women themselves, their babies and families, and their role as caregivers in personal, community and professional capacities, including those who work as midwives. Among the Millennium Development Goals, those relating to maternal and child health are the primary focus for midwives; however, particularly in the least developed countries, addressing the goals of sickness, poverty and gender equality is crucial to progress towards them all.
A cascade of training
On March 12-17, 2006, the first pilot workshop of the training programme 'Promotion of HIV and AIDS Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support' was held in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, South Africa. This workshop is the first part of the pilot study of training for midwives and other health care workers of the ICM and its collaborating partners Medical Knowledge Institute and University of Fort Hare. The pilot study, funded by the Dutch Red Cross, aims at testing the effectiveness of the project design in scaling up training on prevention, treatment, care and support of women with HIV and AIDS and their newborns. The 14 health workers attending came from eight of the nine provinces of South Africa.
The project is designed to create a critical mass of trainers of trainers in each country. The trained 'master trainers' from the first workshop will go on to train midwives and other health care providers to contribute to the combatting of HIV and AIDS in their country. It is a three-tier process.
The curriculum was approved by the World Health Organization and is geared towards skills acquisition. The pilot study will test whether the project methodology is effective in producing the desired outcomes. The results of the study are of critical importance for the modification of the project before implementation on a large scale.
Critical stakeholder and professional support was created from the training workshop. Four directors of programmes (one national and three provincial), six provincial managers and four co-ordinators were trained. Their involvement will potentially make implementation of the project easier. The workshop design, content and mode of delivery were...