The innovation consists of a first-of-its-kind, visual-based comprehensive package that offers knowledge and skills in early childhood development to pregnant and child-bearing women in rural Vietnam. The educational package includes five modules, consisting of 24 sessions. Module 1 (four sessions) is for women in their early or mid-pregnancy. Module 2 (five sessions) targets late-pregnancy and newborn care. Module 3 (four sessions) aims to provide women with children 3-6 months of age child care knowledge and skills. Module 4 (five sessions) engages with families who have children 7-12 months of age, and the final Module 5 (six sessions) targets families with children 13-24 months. All 24 sessions aim to change the behaviors of families toward better care for pregnant women and children, to stimulate child growth and brain development. The psycho-social educational package includes 24 topics covered in five modules:
Women in early to mid-pregnancy
- Pregnancy and development
- Pregnancy, family life and thinking healthy
- Pregnancy and illness prevention
Husband, and in-laws of women in early to mid-pregnancy
- Family support for pregnant women
Women in late pregnancy
- Depression and anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum, and thinking healthy
- Fetus development in late pregnancy and preparing for labour
- Infant development, play and stimulus: 0-3 months of age
- Newborn care and illness
Women rearing children 3– 6 months of age
- Sleeping and crying therapy
- Breastfeeding and supplementation
- Infant dental care
- Play and stimulation: 3-6 months of age
Women rearing children 7 – 12 months
- Complementary and feeding training
- Care for common child illness
- Play and stimulation 7-12 months: speech, hearing and social stimulus
- Play and stimulation 7-12 months: motor and self-help skill stimulus
Husband and grandparents of children 7-12 months
- Family support for women and children care and development
Women rearing children 13 – 24 months
- Play and stimulation 13-24 months: language and growth
- Play and stimulation 23-24 months: social and emotional
- Play and stimulation 23-24 months: gross and fine motor and self-help skills
- Play and stimulation 23-24 months: cognitive development
- Child injury prevention and first aids
- Feeding therapy for picky eaters
The educational package includes a DVD with instructions for skills formation, together with posters and take-home leaflets. The contents have been developed from the international standard packages such as the Care for Child Development by WHO and UNICEF, Thinking Healthy Program, Pregnancy Childbirth Postpartum and Newborn Care – A guide for essential practice by WHO, Mental Health-GAP Instruction Guide by WHO, Integrated Management of Child Illness by WHO, Vietnam’s national nutrition program, and the national child injury prevention program.
Approach of Program
The Learning Clubs are facilitated by the Women’s Union staff (community-based lady social workers) and Commune Health Clinic staff (community-based medical doctor or nurses) who are trained in six courses to deliver the program. The first five courses taught the program content and focused on how to facilitate the modules. The last course provided training about Learning Club operation, monitoring and supervision.
Learning Clubs are organized at the community meeting hall and the community health clinic site. DVD players are provided by the local authorities. Laptop and projectors are provided by the project.
Facilitators use the DVD as a means to teach skills, instruct the practice of new skills on dolls and on children directly, facilitate the discussions after practice and provide take-home messages. Each session lasts for about 90 to 120 minutes.
After the class session, facilitators visit households to see how women adopt the new skills at home and provide additional support until new skills become habits. Women with mental disorders, sick children, difficult toddlers, or poor skills in personal and child care, and women who suffer from domestic violence, extreme financial hardship, or family crises, will be prioritized to receive a home visit. Each facilitator will conduct 2 home visits per month.
Roadmap for the Future
This model will go through three phases:
- 2014-2015: development, field testing and pilot testing on a small scale
- 2016-2018: randomized control trial to examine the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the program
- 2020: advocacy for the project to be fully integrated into a national policy on care for child development
From 2014-2015 the project will focus on producing a low-cost, easily understood, structured curriculum for the Learning Clubs to be operated by the Community Women's Union with evidence from field and pilot testing the project in three rural communes randomly selected in Ha nam province.
By the end of 2015, the five modules, the manuals and materials, and the Learning Clubs Operation manual will be ready for scale.