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Neotree holds community engagement trainings for mothers and caregivers

The week of March 18th, marked a momentous occasion as Neotree hosted Mr Lekodi Magombo, Senior Program Manager of the Art and Global Health Centre in Malawi. Mr Magombo visited to provide guidance and support on Neotree's community engagement initiatives utilizing participatory arts. The community engagement workstream is a core component of Prof Michelle Heys’ NIHR Global Health Professorship. Through this workstream, Neotree aims to empower women and families to play an active and meaningful role in providing care to small and vulnerable babies. This will be achieved through the establishment of patient and public involvement (PPI) groups at hospital facilities. These consultative bodies aim to incorporate the perspectives of patients, carers, and the general public into healthcare research, policy, and practice.

On March 18th and 19th, Lekodi (ArtGlo) and Faith (Neotree) conducted full-day workshops for mothers' groups at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital (CPH), followed by two more workshops on the 20th and 21st at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital (SMCH). Utilizing participatory methods such as songs, drama, dance, and facilitation skills, eight mothers at CPH and ten at SMCH were equipped to educate their peers on newborn care, prenatal visits, postnatal care, vaccinations, mental wellness, and more. These participatory methods proved effective in engaging the mothers and enabling them to share vital information. Neotree nurse ambassadors, Prisca Nyamapfeni (SMCH), and Sarudzai Chigwende (CPH), actively taught the mothers about essential newborn care measures that the PPI group mothers could share with others in the work they intend to do at their local primary healthcare facilities and the hospital.

The workshops conducted by Mr Magombo and Faith were instrumental in empowering mothers and building their capacity to advocate for better care practices for newborns. Through the utilization of participatory arts and the dedication of Neotree nurse ambassadors, the workshops facilitated knowledge transfer and empowered the mothers to become advocates for improved healthcare practices in their communities.

On March 22nd, Mr Magombo delivered an informative presentation on the initiatives of the Art and Global Health Centre (ARTGLO), which incorporate art into community outreach programs. The presentation took place at the THRU_ZIM Research Unit offices, where Mr Magombo detailed how Neotree is utilizing these principles to enhance engagement with patients, caregivers, and the public regarding health priorities related to mothers and newborn care.

All those in attendance greatly appreciated Mr Magombo's insights and hands-on assistance in advancing Neotree's meaningful partnerships with local hospitals. By combining participatory arts with leadership development, ARTGLO strives to ignite positive change and create healthier communities.

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