Instructor Development Programme Graduates

Graduates of the second Instructor Development Programme with their end of course certificate

16 healthcare professionals have just completed 2 days of Continuing Professional Development facilitated by 5 UK faculty who are in Cameroon to support the local Neonatal Care Course faculty and train 12 more instructors on the GIC at the end of the week. One of the 16, Ethel (second from the left, back row), is a nurse educator and is shadowing Ferenc, one of the European Resuscitation Council’s senior educators (sixth from the left, back row), and learning how to be a GIC educator.

It was an intense 2 days, mainly of educational updates but we had also been asked for some neonatal clinical updates so the material was interspersed with talks on jaundice, seizure management and CPAP, skills workshops on umbilical venous catheterisation and intraosseous needles as well as an evidence based discussion on the merits and dangers of cooling babies with ischaemic encephalopathy (early brain injury due to being without adequate oxygenation for an extended period around the time of birth) in low- and middle-income countries.

These professionals are the front line workers who will drive change in their health care facilities; they are driven by a need to make things better for new born babies in their country and to reduce neonatal mortality. Training and encouraging them as instructors of the Neonatal Care Course empowers them to initiate new practices at the coal face and hopefully effect long term changes for the good of the families they serve.

Instructor Development Programme (IDP)

Today was the first day of a 2.5 day programme designed to support the on-going professional development of the Cameroonian Instructors who are trainers on the Neonatal Care Course.

These Instructors value time to refresh their skills as trainers, and also to discuss clinical issues in neonatal care.  Some have travelled long distances from the North and North West Regions of Cameroon to attend the course.

Tree growing up the middle of Mboppi Hospital

This year NICHE International Instructors are doing the training in Mboppi Baptist Hospital in the urban centre of Douala.  It has been a challenging day, with temperatures of 36 degrees, and variable electricity supply and therefore air conditioning.

Jo and Kirstie just about coping with the heat in the teaching hall

We have been enthusiastically welcomed by our Cameroonian colleagues, and continue to be impressed by their dedication and commitment to improving neonatal care in their country.

Cameroon 2024

5 of the European faculty are in Cameroon this week for the second Instructor Development Programme which NICHE International has run here. We arrived 2 days ago – a fairly easy flight from London via Paris for 4 of us based in the UK (see our route map above), a slightly longer trip for our European Resuscitation Council educator who has travelled from deep snow covered north Sweden where the temperature today is -15, to 36 degrees and 80% humidity of Cameroon, via Stockholm and Addis Ababa.

Our journey is of course matched by those of our learners who have come from all over Cameroon to Douala for this course, some of them travelling over 12 hours by bus.

Sad news

Hildegarde (left) was a paediatrician and one of NICHE’s NCC instructors in Cameroon

We were deeply saddened this week to learn of the sudden death of a young paediatric colleague in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Hildegarde was won of the first Neonatal Course instructors to be trained by NICHE and was one of the team who recently travelled to the far north of the country to teach the first 2 Neonatal Care Courses to health professionals there. She was an enthusiastic trainer and passionate about improving the care of newborn babies in her country.

Our deepest condolences to her family and friends as they prepare to attend her funeral tomorrow. She will be sorely missed.

First Neonatal Care Course in the Far North Region of Cameroon

Dr Alison Earley

B marks Maroua, the main city in the far north region of Cameroon, a 36 hour journey by bus from Yaoundé

The Far North Region of Cameroon is at the Northern tip of the country, between Nigeria and Chad. Its capital is Maroua, which lies to the East of the Mandara mountains.

Pictures from the Mandara mountains

This is where Cameroonian Instructors are currently teaching the Neonatal Care course. Two of the instructors did their instructor training in Yaoundé in April this year, when NICHE International volunteers visited to facilitate the course. Other instructors are more experienced and have taught on several Neonatal Care Courses before.

Faculty member, Felicia, ready for action at Maroua CBCHS health facility

The perinatal mortality is particularly high in this remote region, and the course is much needed. The instructors travelled for 36 hours from Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital, to reach Maroua where they are training healthcare workers in the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services facility. The majority of the health care workers in the Region are French speaking, and the course manual has been translated into French for them.

Felicia in action, training nurses and midwives in neonatal resuscitation

They shared their past frustrations and said this course will help them to save many lives

Grace on the learners’ feedback after course number 1 last night

Empowering local healthcare staff

Mme Ngome Vivian, recently trained NCC instructor, returned to her health facility and delivered training on the oxygen concentrator

The Neonatal Care Course is a short, stand alone course on the care of the newborn baby in the first 28 days of life but the ripple effects of the training are far-reaching. NICHE believes that training local instructors leads to this sort of – hopefully long lasting – empowerment. Many oxygen concentrators are abandoned or broken because they are poorly maintained or not fully understood. Here, Vivian is teaching staff at Nkoabang Baptist Health Centre how to look after this vital piece of equipment.

Nkoabang Baptist Health Centre, 15 miles outside of Yaoundé, Cameroon

The transcript below is Vivian’s WhatsApp message to Grace in Cameroon, delighted that a baby’s oxygen saturations came up so demonstrably after she had overhauled the concentrator and got it working again:

[5:00 pm, 25/05/2022] NDZE GRACE BONGBAN: Greetings to everyone in the house above is my first presentation on oxygen concentrator to the staff body in Nkoabang Baptist health center infact i really thank Ma Grace and Daddy Justin Fombe for the knowledge I have rescued a patient’s life today we had a patient whose saturation stood at 88 just from cleaning changing distilled water, positioning and ventilation saturation is now 91 dear colleagues let’s pass this knowledge to safe lives on another positive note i emphasized on the need for a projector and we bought one to facilitate teaching
[5:00 pm, 25/05/2022] NDZE GRACE BONGBAN: Also did a presentation to MCH Staff today on convulsion and there was a lot of learning
[5:00 pm, 25/05/2022] NDZE GRACE BONGBAN: We keep on putting our knowledge into practice and results will be visible

Today is International Nurses’ Day!

Dr Alison Earley

International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

Felicia with baby manikins donated to or bought by NICHE, and used for training in new born resuscitation

The theme for 2022 is ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health

Working in neonatal care in Cameroon, Liberia and Uganda it is very obvious just how crucial good nurses are to the survival of all babies, but especially those who are premature or unwell. 

We have also found ‘voices to lead’ among the nurses with whom we have worked, and seen their dedication and abilities.

Felicia is a nurse working in an isolated rural setting in Adamawa Region, one of the Regions in the North of Cameroon which has very high perinatal mortality.

The European instructors have gone home


by Grace Ngoran

The second NCC kicked off today with 28 participants in attendance (the 4 extra being the staff who could not make it down to Yaoundé from Bamenda earlier in the week due to concerns around their safety). The excitement was evident as the instructor candidates came up again powerfully with excellent performance. The workshops were really excited particularly the breastfeeding workshop where everyone used the breast models to demonstrate proper latching technique. Participants were observed to be more involved and participatory.

Knitted visual aids in use during the breastfeeding workshop in Yaoundé today

Brighten the corner where you are…

….is a Cameroonian expression meaning do your best to improve things wherever you find yourself. 

Instructor candidate Dr Matzo Fanny Kigne teaches practical skills on a Neonatal Care Course.

During the last 2 days our newly trained Instructor Candidates have stepped up and exceeded expectations in the way they have trained 16 learners on a Neonatal Care Course.  Some of these new trainers come from rural districts in the Northern Abamawa Region, where they work in small isolated units.  They are determined to improve the standard of newborn care in the places they work.  They will indeed be brightening their corner!