Investing in the review, revision, and roll out of pre-service training programs can be a critical, sustainable, and scalable approach to strengthening the nutrition-related competencies of health workers, improve the quality of nutrition services they provide and, ultimately, achieve better nutrition and health outcomes.
USAID Advancing Nutrition drafted a tool for reviewing the nutrition-related content of pre-service training curricula in 2020. This tool provides a list of competencies essential for delivering frontline nutrition services.
In 2021 and 2022, we used the tool to review nutrition-related content of pre-service training curricula in Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kyrgyz Republic, and Malawi. We began by identifying the professional/certified health workers working on the frontlines who were well positioned to provide primary care level nutrition services. We then reviewed their job descriptions to see which nutrition services they are expected to provide and the extent to which their pre-service education addresses topics related to those services.
Through this review process we identified areas in need of greater clarity (e.g., which cadres provide which services), better alignment (e.g., between job descriptions and pre-service training requirements), and additional content (e.g., topics of increasing concern that are not covered in the curricula). In collaboration with stakeholders from each country, we developed recommendations for strengthening the pre-service training curricula reviewed. Recommendations included, among other more country-specific tasks, the development of model curricula, course syllabi, or lesson plans. A report about these findings and recommendations can be found on the USAID Advancing Nutrition website.
USAID Advancing Nutrition will organize and host workshops in each of the five countries in 2023 to identify next steps and develop action plans based on the recommendations. We will also update the tool for reviewing the nutrition-related content of pre-service training curricula and convene national stakeholders to develop a set of prioritized recommendations for national and global communities to support governments to review and revise their pre-service education curricula.