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Clinical mentorship for quality reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health services: Strengthening providers’ skills to improve health outcomes

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Although progress has been made in recent decades to improve service access and use, women and children still face numerous inter-related health challenges. Improving health worker competency to deliver quality reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) services is one way to improve health outcomes.

Based on proven mentorship models, the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) developed a national RMNCH mentorship program and guidelines for health centers and hospitals. The focus is on enhancing the skills of providers and fostering routine interactions between hospitals and their catchment health workers, who are affiliated with the Ethiopian Primary Health Care Alliance for Quality (EPAQ) and Ethiopian Hospitals Alliance for Quality (EHAQ).

Successful mentorship combines individual and systems-based approaches: individual-based efforts to improve competencies and confidence of health workers and then the application of acquired skills to improve access to and quality of care within the health system. Mentorship is a critical mechanism to sustaining high-quality clinical skills and knowledge-sharing in resource-constrained settings. It can be an effective part of the health worker education continuum and should be designed to meet the learning needs identified by health workers themselves.

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