Learn more about the EPC training package

In 2004, WHO/Europe developed the EPC training package in the framework of the Making Pregnancy Safer strategic approach. Updating of the EPC and the development of the second edition was coordinated by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Maternal and Child Health, Institute of Child Health IRCCS Burlo Garofolo, Trieste, Italy. The Russian translation was carried out by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reproductive Health in Human Reproduction, Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology of the Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia.

The overall aim of the EPC training course includes both improving the knowledge and skills of health professionals and managers on evidence-based recommendations on perinatal health care, and, most importantly, stimulating critical thinking on existing practices. This dual aim contributes in a practical way to driving a process of implementing changes within a quality improvement cycle. It also aims at improving providers' attitudes towards users of health services, respecting service users' rights to care, and at improving overall equity in service delivery. 

The EPC training package aligns with the principles of "Health 2020: a European policy framework and strategy for the 21st century". Health 2020 recommends a life-course approach and an early investment in health, focusing on pregnancy and early child development, as windows of opportunity for future health outcomes and well-being. 

The EPC training course:

  • focuses on "improving performance of the existing health workforce, as this immediately affects health service delivery and, ultimately, population health";
  • contributes to "moving to a more evidence-informed, and people-centred approach and team-based delivery of care"; and
  • promotes the "appropriate use of medicines and health technologies which will enhance the quality of care and make more efficient use of scarce health care resources".

The EPC training package is designed for midwives, obstetrician-gynaecologists, neonatologists, paediatric nurses and policy-makers. It includes essentials of midwifery, obstetric and neonatal care delivered through theoretical sessions, role plays, group work and several hours of hands-on training to develop practical skills using the newly obtained knowledge. Training methods promote the building of a perinatal team of health professionals: multidisciplinary collaboration is promoted throughout the course. At the end of the EPC course, participants develop recommendations to improve quality of care in their health facilities.

The initial EPC training is usually delivered over a two-week period. As the course structure allows for flexibility, selected parts of EPC can be delivered separately based on local needs/priorities or for reinforcement training. The EPC package includes material for training of trainers, typically delivered as a one-week class.