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Background

Subsequent to a review of the Roving Caregivers Programme conducted in 2006, it was proposed that options for consolidation of their concepts and methodologies (using the “High Scope 0-3 manual) be converged, to extend its reach in a national context.

The Early Childhood Health Outreach (ECHO) was developed out of this consultative effort to conceptualize the integration of various aspects of the RCP into the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services.

The Caribbean Child Support Initiative (CCSI); United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF); Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); with support from Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) and the Ministry of Health, Wellness & the Environment joined in partnership to converge the ECHO concepts into the Primary Health Care system for “at risk” children 0 - 3 years, by establishing a two-year pilot project in the Calliaqua health district with a view of institutionalizing the program.

The Calliaqua health district was identified due to the following indicators:workshop (pastoral center)

  • A high level of poverty

  • The Roving Caregivers Program does not exist in this community

  • The unavailability of day care centers

  • The high migrant activities

At the end of this pilot project the children involved would have received stimulation, which would put them on an even platform so that at the entrance to pre and primary schools they would be well prepared and would have reached their developmental milestones. Parents would also be empowered to assist their children in areas of health, education and social development.

Description of ECHO

The Early Childhood Health Outreach (ECHO) is a programme in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines which was designed to link early childhood development and the health care services for ‘at risk’ children and families.

ECHO uses methods of an informal home-visiting programme for children (birth to three years) which support parents in communities with limited access to these services giving them access to early stimulation and parenting education.

The program addresses the development needs of the very young in disadvantaged conditions where children benefit from: quality care, development of basic skills, better health and nutrition and at the next level, better performance in pre-school; and future education.

Goal:

“Providing quality Early Childhood Health stimulation readily accessible to “at risk” children & parents”.

Vision:

“To ensure that adequate resources are provided to enable the environment where young children from all social and economic backgrounds have equal opportunities in reaching their maximum potential.

Mission:

“To provide non-formal early childhood intervention services in disadvantaged communities for families with children from birth to three years to realize the immediate and long-term benefits of good quality early childhood development experiences”.

Objectives:

  • To offer early stimulation to young children and improve parenting practices in disadvantaged communities.

  • Promote and monitor good health and early development of young children.

  • To train community health aides (CHAs) within the communities to assist in the delivery of parent support services.

  • To transfer the CHAs newly acquired knowledge and skills in working with families and communities to produce a range of local support agencies.

  • To promote friendly and healthy relationships between parents/guardians and children.

ECHO integrated Core Aspects of Roving Caregivers Programme

Appropriate training for nursing and other health personnel have been undertaken prior to the implementation of the programme. Training manuals were developed which incorporates the RCP concepts as well as the new World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts and feeding suggestions for children 0-5 years.

Regular meetings and ongoing consultations have been held and will continue to be held with stakeholders in collaborating agencies for the smooth running and sustainability of the ECHO programme. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has a robust health infrastructure that lends to the sustainability of most of the practices and knowledge from the programme.

How does ECHO Operate

Who is it for

  • Echo provides a safety net for children 0-3 years old who do not have any form of early stimulation and are generally exposed to inappropriate practices.

  • ECHO is especially targeting parents and guardians of children within the above-mentioned age group, to help strengthen their parenting skills.

  • Expectant parents (male and female)

Who is the Home Visitor?

  • Trained Community Health Aides (CHAs) who were trained at the Division of Nursing Education in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with basic knowledge of early childhood health development principles to conduct home stimulations.

What happens at Home Visits?

  • CHAs make regular visits and spend 30 to 60 minutes with children.

  • They guide and support parent-child stimulation activities, such as play, storytelling and other suitable activities for the 0-3 age group.

  • The CHA engage parents by demonstrating the activities to strengthen their understanding and for them to continue the process after the home visits.

Children Worked with by ECHO:

By July 27, 2011 Community Health Aides across Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the ECHO program had reached 425 children. This number has been calculated from the 496 visits during the period July 2010 – June 2011.

Training

Forty-one (41) Community Health Aides had ECHO training and are executing the ECHO principles and methodologies. Training was done in two parts:

  • 1st Training - Theoretical and Practical conducted June - July 2010 involving 19 CHAs.

  • 2nd Training - Theoretical and Practical conducted January - March 2011 involving 22 CHAs.

Training topics included:

  • Growth and Development at various stages of the life cycle.

  • Detection of Abnormalities related to growth and development 3 year olds.

  • Learning Cycle

  • Adult Child Interaction

  • Nutrition 0 - 3yrs

  • Neuro-developmental Principles

One batch of CHAs was trained in Family Literacy in February 2011 and another batch was trained in September 2011.

Parenting Workshops

A method ECHO uses to reach parents involved in the program is through parenting workshops. One-day workshops involve practical methods of equipping parents with knowledge and skills of early childhood health development. These parent workshops are ongoing.

Institutionalizing of the ECHO programme

For the sustainability of the ECHO programme efforts have been made to integrate ECHO concepts into existing maternal and child health services in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

  • March - May 2011 - Meetings were held with the Senior Nursing Officer, Community Nursing Officer and the Health Nursing Supervisor with regards to:
    • duplicating the Ages and Stages Questionnaire and incorporating ECHO training into the school’s curriculum.

    • Storage area for data

    • Submission of ECHO program in Advance Proposal

    • Inclusion of ECHO activities in CHA job description
  • Discussions held with tutors from the Division of Nursing Education, ECHO consultants, and ECHO coordinator, outline the integration process of the ECHO program into the school’s curriculum from September 2011 (RN & NA batches).

The Child Support Initiative in partnership with the Caribbean Internship Project (CIP) and the University of the West Indies started a regional initiative that has seen University students in the field of media and communication, research and psychology working in early childhood development in Eastern Caribbean countries. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has benefitted from this integration through students attachment to the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) and the Early Childhood Health Outreach (ECHO).

Contact Information:
Mrs. Kathleen Mandeville (Coordinator)
c/o Sion Hill Health Cente
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Telephone: 784-532-4436
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or

Sis. Ferosa Roache (Senior Nursing Officer)
Environmental Health Building
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Telephone: 784-485-6133
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This is the first polyclinic to be constructed at Stubbs.  This will be an intermediary between primary and secondary care facilities.  The purpose of the establishment of this type of facility is to make health services more accessible to the rural population.  It will provide services such as obstetrics, basic diagnostic (X-ray and Labs), ambulance, Counseling; paediatric, psychiatric and other medical consultations; dental, ophthalmology, pharmaceutical and physiotherapy.

 

 

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Health Information System

The Ministry of Health and the Environment is currently installing an electronic Health Information System (HIS) with the aim of improving the delivery of health care in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.  The implementation of the HIS consists of the customization and operationalizing of a software package and the purchase of computer equipment for health care facilities throughout Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.  Work is also ongoing to network the health care facilities to facilitate inter-connectivity.

 

The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines HIS (SVG-HIS) will undoubtedly:
  1. Provide electronic personal identification codes and records for every member of the population

  2. Improve health through the availability of better reliable and timely health information

  3. Improve monitoring of National, regional and International indicators

  4. Improve accountability and ensure evidence-based decision-making
Status on SVG-HIS

The sole aim of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines HIS is to electronically integrate all the major service areas within the Ministry of Health and the Environment which would include modules such as:

  1. Electronic Health Records/Admission-Discharge-Transfer

  2. Clinician Order Entry

  3. Maternal Child Health

  4. HIV/AIDS

  5. Laboratory and Testing

  6. Supply Chain Management

  7. Public Health

  8. Human Resources

  9. Financial

 

In order to achieve this function, the SVG-HIS is comprised of four (4) major components which are:
  1. Open source software

  2. Hardware for all hospital and district clinics.

  3. Network infrastructure for hospitals and district clinics.

  4. Capacity strengthening training for technical team and end-users.

Project Update

 

The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Health Information System (SVGHIS) has already been implemented and is being used at 36 facilities daily. The modules that are effectively functioning at these health centers are Electronic Health Records, Maternal Child Health, Clinician Order Entry, Supply Chain Management, HIV and Human Resources. Other modules, along with the remaining clinics, will be implemented soon.

 

Click for a full list of facilities on stream so far

Modern Medical Complex (Georgetown)

This is being constructed at a cost of over $20 million EC by the Governments of Cuba and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.  The Complex will be made up of a surgical, Dialysis and outpatient units.  Services that will be provided upon completion include: Renal Dialysis for adults and children, Intensive Care, Endoscopy, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Ultrasound, Laboratory and General Medical and Surgical Consultations.  It is expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.

Objectives:
  1. To expand secondary health care services to provide dialysis services.

  2. To decentralize secondary health care services with respect to special diagnostic and medical surgical services.

  3. To upgrade primary health care by increasing availability, accessibility and equity in the delivery of services.

 

Minister

Minister Luke Browne

Hon. Robert T.L.V. Browne

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Health Tips

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The information provided here is only intended to offer guidelines for a healthy lifestyle. Always consult a licensed health care professional or medical doctor before using any medication or changing your medical regime.

World Health News

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Contact Information

Permanent Secretary
Mr. Cuthbert Knights

Tel:(784) 457- 2586
Fax:(784) 457-2684
E-mail: mohesvg@gov.vc Alternate:mohesvg@gmail.com

Location

The Ministry of Health & the Environment is located on the first floor of the Government Ministerial Building, situated on Halifax Street.

Address:

Ministry of Health and the Environment
Ministerial Building
Kingstown,
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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