ANTE & POSTNATAL POLYCLINIC PROGRAMME
The NCSA Ante & Postnatal Polyclinic Programme aims to impart universal drug education to ante and postnatal health clients in an effort to increase awareness of harms associated with drug use and misuse during and after pregnancy. The programme integrates drug education into existing health promotion services provided by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) through the direct delivery of drug information to clients accessing Maternal & Child Health (MCH) services at local polyclinics. Phase II of the programme will incorporate the use of internationally accredited screening tools by medical personnel across all polyclinics island-wide, to help identify clients who may be at-risk for substance use problems. Feedback from both participants and MOH partners will be used to improve the programme content, development of drug educational materials and delivery methods.
In keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) outlined recommendations for antenatal care for “a positive pregnancy experience” recognizing that a woman’s experience of care… is key to thriving families and communities. “A positive pregnancy experience is defined as maintaining physical and sociocultural normality, maintaining a healthy pregnancy for mother and baby (including preventing or treating risks, illness and death), having an effective transition to positive labour and birth, and achieving positive motherhood (including maternal self-esteem, competence and autonomy).” In the absence of local data on the harms associated with drug use and misuse during and after pregnancy, the NCSA conducted literature reviews and held consultations with MOH officials and other health practitioners. International research revealed that harms associated with drug use/misuse during the antenatal and postnatal period included but were not limited to stroke, pre-term delivery, low birth weight, stillbirth, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs), a range of birth defects and developmental delays. Anecdotal information has provided insight on how the provision of information to women accessing antenatal care can help prevent drug-related illness and death.
In this regard, the NCSA will revitalize its outreach programme at all polyclinics in 2020 in an effort to provide women accessing Maternal & Child Health (MCH) services at polyclinics with current, culturally-relevant drug education. It is envisaged that this approach will help to propel drug prevention and intervention efforts amongst this vulnerable segment of the adult population by:
- Increasing awareness of short and long-term physical and psychological effects of drug use on maternal health, foetal and child development.
- Increasing awareness of local drug intervention and support services.