In collaboration with the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP), FANTA co-hosted the launch and transfer of the Maternal and Child Nutrition e-Learning Course to the Guatemala Ministry of Health virtual e-learning platform on January 24, 2017. The Spanish-language nutrition course strengthens the capacity of frontline health workers to support nutrition services for mothers and children from pregnancy through a child’s second birthday—known as the first 1,000 days. The course materials consist of an eight-unit course plus a unit on self-esteem, a learning guide for participants, and a guide for facilitators.
Presenting Benefits of the Tool
During the launch FANTA presented on the development and implementation process of the distance learning course from 2014–2016, with remarks made by Maggie Fischer, FANTA´s Guatemala Country Manager. She emphasized the importance of training health personnel to provide quality preventive nutrition services given the magnitude of the nutrition problems in Guatemala. She also invited the MOH to take full advantage of this resource and stressed the importance of working with other sectors to strengthen nutrition-sensitive interventions.
Additional remarks were made by INCAP’s director, Carolina Siu, who highlighted the importance of e-learning technology as an option to strengthen human resources, as well as to ensure the necessary mechanisms to achieve satisfactory levels of participation.
Following these remarks, FANTA and INCAP jointly presented the distance learning course to the Administrative Vice Minister of Health, Dr. Edgar Gonzalez, who then made closing remarks and recognized their support and work. Dr. Gonzalez also recognized the importance of this tool to strengthen the competencies of health personnel in their stewardship and leadership role for provision of nutrition-related interventions.
Impacting Future Nutrition Professionals
It is anticipated with the leadership of the Department of Training and Development (DECAP), the first group of MOH personnel will be trained in 2017 using the e-learning platform. INCAP will continue to provide technical support to DECAP/MOH and train recently hired personnel from DECAP who will be the facilitators for implementation of the course at the MOH.
In addition, FANTA worked with INCAP and Rafael Landívar University to launch the distance-learning course as an elective course for five universities in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. FANTA helped train key university staff as course facilitators and helped strengthen the knowledge and skills of professors in four academic programs (medicine, nutrition, nursing and social work) in the five universities. FANTA is also transferring the course onto the Food and Nutrition Security Secretariat's website and posting the course materials on INCAP’s virtual platform.