The UK-based Institute of Health Visiting has announced that it is opening its membership to professionals from overseas, as it seeks to promote child and family health internationally.
International membership has been introduced for those living overseas who would like to have access to the latest evidence-based research, reports, briefings and other materials relevant to the work of the health visitor, said the institute.
“The UK health visiting service is seen as the gold standard service to emulate”
In addition, it said its new category of membership would help the institute to raise international awareness of the important role of health visitors.
The announcement of the IHV’s international membership coincides with some its senior members attending a UNICEF meeting in Leiden, Holland, as professional advisors to support the introduction of home visiting services in other countries.
IHV executive director Dr Cheryll Adams, trustee Professor Dame Sarah Cowley, and fellow Dr Karen Whitaker are all at the event, where UNICEF is supporting the introduction of a home visiting service based on health visiting into 25 countries across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Dr Adams said: “I am pleased to open up our international membership of the Institute of Health Visiting to those health professionals living outside of the UK who work with babies, children, families and communities.”
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She added: “I am delighted we are helping support UNICEF to introduce home visiting services into other countries.
“UNICEF is turning to England as a source of best practice on the central role that the health visitor plays in the lives of families due to our history and the level of experience and sophistication in our systems,” she said.
“The UK health visiting service is seen as the gold standard service to emulate, with the IHV as the ‘go to place’ to support these countries,” said Dr Adams.
In 2014, the institute hosted a UNICEF meeting where child and family health experts from Eastern Europe and Central Asia learnt about the role that health visitors play in England – with presentations on policy, education, research, practice, health visiting frameworks and tools.