Liberia Interpersonal Communication and Counseling Curriculum

To be effective and trusted, health providers must show empathy and the ability to effectively communicate with their clients. Technical competence plays a large role in delivering high-quality care; however, additional factors identified as affecting the quality of care delivered by health providers include their communication skills, values, beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, perceptions of their role, social and workplace norms, structural context, and level of supervision.

The interpersonal communication and counseling (IPCC) curriculum was developed by a multidisciplinary team from the Liberia Ministry of Health (MOH) along with its national and international development partners and in collaboration with Breakthrough ACTION Liberia. This IPCC curriculum focuses on building skills related to communication, empathy, and compassion in order to support service providers in delivering more effective and responsive care. Building a service provider’s communication and counseling skills will lead to a better understanding of a client’s perspective, improved relationships between providers and clients, and ultimately, a greater sense of trust and confidence in the health system.

This training manual is designed for health providers who are in contact with clients at health facilities in Liberia. It is an interactive training manual that teaches counseling, communication, and motivation skills using hands-on practices such as problem-solving, post-training coaching and mentorship, self-reflection, peer review, and visual reminders. These approaches aim to build skills that will promote health provider empathy for clients, improve client-provider interaction, client experience, quality of care and ultimately improve health outcomes.

Curriculum Resources

Source: Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

Date of Publication: February 15, 2023

“Building Trust and Empathy Around COVID-19” training curriculum

Breakthrough ACTION supports the Government of Nigeria (GON) to create an enabling environment for preparedness, response, and recovery from emerging pandemic threats and infectious disease outbreaks. Working with and through healthcare workers (HCWs) during the COVID-19 response efforts has been key to this support. Research shows:

  • HCWs are trusted messengers for social and behavior change (SBC) interventions. Results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Sydani Vaccine Hesitancy Study in Nigeria showed that 83% of participants said they would seek advice from an HCW in the decision to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • HCWs were largely more likely to be vaccinated than the general population for COVID-19. However, many remained vaccine-hesitant. This was largely due to a lack of confidence in the vaccines, followed by a lack of trust in government/public figures, fear of adverse effects, constraints to access, and a low perception of the risk of disease.
  • HCWs reported that they lacked sufficient information on COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines and required more information on COVID-19 and vaccination.

In response to this demonstrated need, Breakthrough ACTION in collaboration with partners in Nigeria developed the “Building Trust and Empathy Around COVID-19” training curriculum, which aims to not only build the skills of HCWs in providing empathetic care but also support them in navigating their own self-care to avoid burnout during an emergency. The training combines an in-person component along with virtual coaching support and reference materials. These include:

A blog on Breakthrough ACTION’s website describes the training curriculum and lessons learned.

Source: Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

Date of Publication: February 3, 2023

A Guide to Action for Community Mobilization and Empowerment Focused on Postabortion Complications

This is a training manual for using the community action cyclem which is a participatory problem-solving approach involving community diagnosis, planning together, implementation of plans, participatory evaluation, and scaling up. It helps communities identify their problems and prioritize and solve the major problems relating to post abortion care.

The manual includes activities for a six day training session.

Source: EngenderHealth

Date of Publication: January 17, 2022

Community IPC Guide – Malaria

This is a flipchart designed to aid Community Volunteers (CVs) in facilitating discussions around malaria appropriate behaviors during community dialogue sessions. There are versions for Nasarawa, Benue, Akwa Ibom, Kebbi & Zamfara.

It includes information about:

  • What is Malaria
  • Malaria signs and symptoms
  • People at risk
  • Severe malaria
  • Malaria in pregnancy
  • Prevention of malaria
  • Environmental management
  • Testing
  • Treatment

The flipchart was used to interact with over 4 million individuals.

Source: Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

Date of Publication: October 25, 2021

HIV Counselling Resource Package for the Asia Pacific Region

This package outlines the key activities and information involved in training HIV counsellors to work in voluntary counselling and testing (VCT), provider initiated testing and counselling (PITC), and HIV care counselling settings in the Asia and Pacific regions.

The overall objectives of the training are:

  • To improve the technical capacity of counsellors to provide HIV testing and counselling across the disease continuum
  • To train counsellors in evidence-based counselling strategies that may help reduce HIV transmission
  • To provide counsellors with skills to support adherence to HIV treatment and care
  • To reduce the psychological morbidity associated with HIV disease and improve the quality of life of people living with HIV

The trainer’s manual contains essential information for the use of those facilitating or conducting the training of HIV counsellors for low- and high-concentration HIV epidemic areas in the Asia and Pacific regions. The manual contains 16 modules with clearly stated objectives and session plans. The printed manual contains all the training resources listed in the Training Resources Outline.

The annex of the trainer’s manual contains sample training evaluation materials.

Source: UNICEF, FHI360, WHO

Date of Publication: October 17, 2021

Engaging Boys and Men in Gender Transformation: The Group Education Manual

This 11-chapter manual offers trainers an array of participatory experiential exercises to reach men (and their partners), exploring gender socialization and its impact on HIV prevention and care. Piloted in Ethiopia, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania, the manual is designed to assist master trainers in developing curricula to work with men and boys on gender, HIV and AIDS issues.

After a short background discussing the scientific rationale, chapter topics include: Gender and Power, Sexuality, Men and Health, Substance Use, Healthy Relationships, STI and HIV prevention, Living with HIV, Fatherhood, Violence and Making Change-taking Action. This educational manual allows men to question non-equitable views about masculinity and develop more positive attitudes to prevent unhealthy behaviors that put them and their partners and families at risk. It can also be used to train facilitators who will implement workshop activities with groups of men.

The activities are intended for use with men of all ages, although some adaptations might have to be made depending on the ages of the men and the country and community context. These activities can also be adapted for use with groups of men and women.

Source: EngenderHealth, Promundo

Date of Publication: October 15, 2021

Sexual and Reproductive Health Training Manual for Young People

This manual is part of a program called Y2Y (Youth to Youth), designed for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Y2Y is a comprehensive program that addresses HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health issues among young people aged 10-24 using a peer to peer approach.

This manual is organized into ten units, to be delivered over ten days. Each unit consists of factual information about sexual and reproductive health and the participatory learning process, including exercises, techniques, methods and activities.

Source: German Foundation for World Population

Date of Publication: October 11, 2021

Module de formation des Relais Communautaires

La prise en charge des maladies au niveau communautaire vise à améliorer l’état de santé des populations particulièrement celui des enfants et des femmes enceintes par la promotion de bonnes pratiques familiales et communautaires.

La réduction de la morbidité et de la mortalité au niveau communautaire nécessite la disponibilité de services de santé adéquats avec un personnel bien formé. Les familles sont les premiers responsables de leur prise en charge. La réussite des actions visant à réduire le nombre de décès au sein des communautés, nécessite un partenariat entre les agents de santé et les familles, avec la pleine participation de ces communautés.

En effet le personnel de santé et les agents de santé communautaire s’assurent que les familles peuvent aussi faire des soins appropriés à domicile. Les familles aussi doivent pouvoir réagir convenablement en cas de maladie en administrant des traitements recommandés. Il est important que la prise en charge des maladies implique les familles et les communautés.

Le présent manuel est destiné à la formation des Relais Communautaires. Il comprend 10 thématiques qui sont :

  • santé de la mère du nouveau-né et de l’enfant
  • éducation et soins pour le développement de l’enfant
  • violences basées sur le genre
  • nutrition
  • eau-hygiène-assainissement
  • lutte contre les maladies
  • maladies non transmissible
  • communication
  • monitorage, suivi et rapportage
  • gestion des médicaments et les annexes

C’est un document de référence pour tous les programmes de santé du pays.

Source: Direction Nationale de la Santé communautaire et médecine Traditionnelle/Ministère de la Santé

Date of Publication: August 31, 2021

Trainer Manual – Counseling on Infant and Young Child Feeding at a Health Facility

Alive and Thrive is an initiative in Vietnam aimed at improving infant and young child feeding by increasing rates of exclusive breastfeeding and improving complementary feeding practices. – See more at: /project-examples/dads-can-do-toolkit#sthash.HrdiH0dM.dpuf

Alive & Thrive is an initiative in Vietnam aimed at improving infant and young child feeding by increasing rates of exclusive breastfeeding and improving complementary feeding practices.

This manual is designed for use by trainers to prepare health-facility workers to deliver good quality IYCF counseling services. This manual offers an overview of IYCF, nutrition and health care for pregnant women and lactating mothers, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, hygiene, and child feeding during illness. The manual’s principal purpose is to provide essential counseling and communication skills to health workers who are responsible for the direct provision of IYCF counseling services at health facilities. The accompanying handbook is a reference for participants on topics discussed in the training.

Source: Alive & Thrive

Date of Publication: August 16, 2021

Keep It Simple: A Lesson in Linking Teens to Sexual Health Care – Video and Lesson Plan

This is a brief 45 minute lesson plan designed to help link young men and women, ages 15-19, to trusted, “teen friendly” contraceptive and reproductive healthcare providers.

It reasons why adolescents don’t typically access services that include: gaps in knowledge about their right to care, services and contraceptive methods available to them, and the location of healthcare providers that can meet their unique needs in the community. The module was developed “for teens by teens” and includes a short motion graphic that can be shared online as a stand-alone product to facilitate greater access, improve awareness of birth control methods available to teens, and promote linkage to care.

The video can be seen at

Source: Healty Teen Network

Date of Publication: August 16, 2021