World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) aims at child well-being development, especially for children from birth to 3 years, the period when the development goes the quickest. Go Baby Go Parenting Programme has been implemented in parallel with the work of the Ministry of Public Health, to capacitate public health network and reduce doctors’ burdens at the sub-district health promotion hospital, the health unit closest to the villagers living in the most distant area, allowing the doctors to spend more time on clinical practice during the previous year.
WVFT’s Go Baby Go Parenting Programme has a goal to enhance children’s growth and development during the first 1,000 days of their life, the vital period affecting their long-term development and health. WVFT has integrated the 5-facet holistic parenting model, which includes (1) nutrition care, (2) responsive parenting, (3) health care, (4) fundamental learning, and (5) security and safety. The information has been passed on to parents, caregivers, and all community members to boost their knowledge, skills, and techniques to improve the way they raise children and to enable parents and caregivers to understand the connections between child growth, health & nutrition, and child protection with child intellectual, emotional and social development. WVFT has conducted Go Baby Go training for village health volunteers to prepare them as trainers, who can further pass on the knowledge to parents, caregivers, and all community members, to ensure that everyone is equipped with proper knowledge and information, which will enable them to appropriately raise little children together.
Miss Sawitree Sopha, so called “Dr Am”, Public Health Technical Officer at Hua Muang Sub-district Health Promotion Hospital and a member of WVFT’s Child Well-Being Promotion Committee at Mueang Pan Area Develoment Programme, Lampang province, talked about the implementation of the village health volunteer network based on the Go Baby Go project. She is a facilitator of home-based baby development promotion: “After the training, some parents who are village health volunteers can serve as facilitators. They have moved the activity site from the hospital to their home. It is better because it is close and convenient for the target group. Children can play at home. They just add tools to optimise child plays to promote child development.”
Am also reflected on WVFT’s Go Baby Go project. “It helps lessen the clinic’s burdens a lot. Child development monitoring is part of our work. Most of the time the workloads are overwhelming,” Am went on.
“From the day a baby visits the Child Development Clinic, if he/she is evaluated as in an underdeveloped condition, we need to monitor him/her every 30 days. So, from Day 1 – 30, child development must be stimulated. This is our job mandate. The parents and the health officer must collaborate in this stimulating process. On Day 30, the baby will be re-evaluated. If he/she is still found underdeveloped, he/she will be referred to the district hospital. If further evaluation at the district hospital confirms that his/her under development persists, he/she will be referred to see a child psychiatrist at a specialised hospital. As such, if village health volunteers or parents are equipped with knowledge and able to apply it to appropriately stimulate child development, this will be a key factor to enable children to have better growth or age-appropriate development. During the 30-day following up process if child development improves, the number of referred cases will reduce accordingly. We don’t have to visit individual parents to encourage them to stimulate their babies’ development because we have village health volunteers who have been trained by WVFT’s parenting programme to fill in for us. They can reduce our workloads here.”
The Go Baby Go project has not only solved problems, but also contributed to infant development promotion. “Since the training was provided to the village health volunteers, who have passed on the knowledge to parents, babies have been found with age-appropriate development at their first visit to the clinic, thanks to good child care and development offered at home. It is obvious that the knowledge from this project has positively impacted babies and parents. On the hospital’s end, when babies have age-appropriate development, we can skip to the next step of child development stimulation in the older age groups. This partially relieves the clinic’s workloads,” Am added.
“I’d like to thank WVFT for such a good project like Go Baby Go, which supports us with tools to better work in the community. Children have better access to health service. We’ve exchanged and gained a variety of knowledge and experience. The course emphasises sensitivity, feelings, and responses. First-time moms will be taught to listen to their babies. They’ll learn to differentiate types of baby cries and be able to respond appropriately. Thank you,” Am ended with a smile.