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Nutrition training in medical and other health professional schools in West Africa: the need to improve current approaches and enhance training effectiveness

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  • Roger Sodjinou
  • William Bosu
  • Nadia Fanou
  • Lucie Deart
  • Roland Kupka
  • Felicite Tchibindat
  • Shawn Baker
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Article number24827
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Global Health Action
Issue number1
Volume7
Number of pages9
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date30/07/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Background: Health professionals play a key role in the delivery of nutrition interventions. Improving the quality of nutrition training in health professional schools is vital for building the necessary human resource capacity to implement effective interventions for reducing malnutrition in West Africa. This study was undertaken to assess the current status of nutrition training in medical, nursing and midwifery schools in West Africa. Design: Data were collected from 127 training programs organized by 52 medical, nursing, and midwifery schools. Using a semi-structured questionnaire, we collected information on the content and distribution of nutrition instruction throughout the curriculum, the number of hours devoted to nutrition, the years of the curriculum in which nutrition was taught, and the prevailing teaching methods. Simple descriptive and bivariate analyses were performed. Results: Nutrition instruction occurred mostly during the first 2 years for the nursing (84%), midwifery (87%), and nursing assistant (77%) programs and clinical years in medical schools (64%). The total amount of time devoted to nutrition was on average 57, 56, 48, and 28 hours in the medical, nursing, midwifery, and nursing assistant programs, respectively. Nutrition instruction was mostly provided within the framework of a dedicated nutrition course in nursing (78%), midwifery (87%), and nursing assistant programs (100%), whereas it was mainly embedded in other courses in medical schools (46%). Training content was heavily weighted to basic nutrition in the nursing (69%), midwifery (77%), and nursing assistant (100%) programs, while it was oriented toward clinical practice in the medical programs (64%). For all the programs, there was little focus (