In 2020, the 12th conference on MCHHandbook, hosted by Amsterdam, was completely prepared and ready to go: twenty-two different field visits had been arranged, plenary speakers, including special guests (royal and imperial) and sessions were planned, and the submitted abstracts had been reviewed by the scientific committee and most of them were included in parallel sessions of the programme.
Unfortunately, at that time the COVID 19 pandemic broke out. Given the situation surrounding the pandemic, we had to decide to postpone the conference to 2021. Because of the ongoing pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions, a year later the Dutch organizing committee and international committee on MCHHandbook decided to offer an alternative program in 2021. The webinar series is supported by the Research Fund of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan.
We therefore organized four online MCH webinars, each focussing on a different theme:
- The first webinar focussed on: ‘ Ensuring maternal and child health care amidst the pandemic’. This webinar was held on February 18, 2021.
- The second webinar focussed on: ‘Reaching out to vulnerable pregnant women and their partners, preventing early life stress’. This was held on May 27, 2021
- The third online webinar focussed on the digital MCHHandbook. Here we explored the digital opportunities for MCH education. It was held on September 23, 2021.
- The fourth and final online webinar had as theme : ’No one left behind, MCHHandbook for parents with vulnerable infants (education for specific target groups). This was held on November 4, 2021.
The webinars were a huge success. We saw a increasing group of participants with 617 participants from 51 countries. The evaluations by the participants were also very positive.
As the Amsterdam team, we look back with satisfaction at the outcome of this webinar series. The advantage of the online webinar that also developing countries participated with many healthcare professionals was a huge plus. In this way we were able to connect with many professionals worldwide to spread our mission and vision of the MCHHandbook and to share new developments.
Anneke Kesler MD, Msc, chair of the local organizing team of the 12th MCHHanbook Conference Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Professor dr. Arnoud Verhoeff, chair of the local scientific committee of the 12th MCHHandbook Conference Amsterdam, The Netherlands