First home visit in the municipality of Suhareka 

Home Visiting programme

Semetisht, Suhareka 2022

When Ilirjeta Bytqyqi opened her door to two health workers recently it was a historic moment. It was the first home visit in the municipality of Suhareka. 

The Home Visiting program for pregnant women and children aged 0-3, has already been set up in 34 out of 38 municipalities in Kosovo and Suhareka is the latest to come on board. 

Ms Bytyqi lives about five kilometers away from the city and gave birth eight months ago to her second child Amar.

“I was really excited when I gave birth to my first child, but even in the second birth I experienced such emotions again,” Ms Bytqyqi said. 

She said that her first birth was more difficult because she did not have much information about prenatal care. She also did not have enough breast milk and so she could not breastfeed her first child. 

By the time Amar was born she had gained more self-confidence and had more information about the baby’s nutrition and healthy growth. Amar was born at 3.5kg and was breastfed from day one. 

Ms Bytyqi said that if she had had information and advice about breastfeeding from home visiting nurses she would have been more determined to breastfeed her first child as well.

The Home Visiting program provides home-based services to improve the health and wellbeing of children and build trust between nurses, social workers and the community for a better family medicine system. 

During their first visit, the home visiting nurses carried out routine checks on Amar’s weight, height and motor movements. Home visits help families identify newborn problems, including signs of illness or disability, and support breastfeeding and vaccinations.

The programme aims to improve access to primary health care services for the most vulnerable households.

“The advice and information is very important for families especially for those that live away from the city and cannot afford to go regularly to family medical centers,” Ms Bytyqi said. 

One of the nurses who visited Ms Bytyqi said that she appreciated the opportunity to put her recent training into practice.

“This training was different from the others, because in addition to updating our knowledge of the pregnant mother and children up to three years old, it also gave us the opportunity to practice visiting the families,” she said.

The Home Visiting programme is led by the Ministry of Health, supported by UNICEF together with Action for Mothers and Children and through the financial support of the Government of Luxembourg.