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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

NMDHR ENGAGES 22 HEALTH FACILITIES, TRAINS 22 FMC GROUPS, 40 CHWs& 8 PARALEGALS ON RELEVANTPRIMARY HEALTHCARE POLICIES IN LUAWA AND KISSI TONGI CHIEFDOMS

HomeNewsBreaking NewsNMDHR ENGAGES 22 HEALTH FACILITIES, TRAINS 22 FMC GROUPS, 40 CHWs& 8...

NMDHR ENGAGES 22 HEALTH FACILITIES, TRAINS 22 FMC GROUPS, 40 CHWs& 8 PARALEGALS ON RELEVANTPRIMARY HEALTHCARE POLICIES IN LUAWA AND KISSI TONGI CHIEFDOMS

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With support from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) through National Coalition for Community Legal Empowerment (NaCCLE) NMDHR trains 8 community paralegals on relevant primary healthcare policies, engages 22 community structures including (FMCs, VDCs, CHWs and) on their roles and responsibilities to help improve primary healthcare service delivery for thousands of pregnant women, lactating mothers, children-under 5, and Ebola Survivors from the 5th – 19th June, 202

The primary health sector account for over 98+% of healthcare service delivery in the Kailahun District but yet the community healthcare structures still marred with severe challenges in terms of service delivery. A greater percent of community health facilities are just a mere structure where effective, efficient and quality healthcare services does not exist. For most part of our engagement as a right based, and advocacy organization, our work is to empower community to own and solve their own problems through proving lasting and sustainable solutions.

It was clearly evident that if not all but majority of the PHUs in Luawa and Kissi Tongi chiefdoms lacks the basic facilities including lights, water, and toilet, to serve its desired catchment population. The most disheartening part of it all, women are still delivered with torchlights in many PHUs from across the project communities. While things like admission beds, incinerator, placenta, and burning pits are still absence in health facilities. NMDHR paralegals have now address some of these problems through our community compact meetings by educating Facility management Committee( FMCs) about their roles and responsibilities in managing the facilities while also encourage health service providers to deliver quality healthcare service to the deserved class of beneficiaries.

During NMDHR’s community engagement, all major community stakeholders including FMC members, CHWs, VDC members, In-charges, Nurses, Chiefs, youth and, womens leader were all part of the broader conversation to address the various community healthcare problems. The objective of holding the compact meetings is to empower ordinary citizens, and influential community stakeholders to take positive actions in solving their own related community healthcare challenges. For instance, Ngeima is a village with only one healthcare facility post that serves a catchment population of 3, 746 people, where service delivery is often hindered and distorted by broken road networks, drugs stock out, unmotivated staff, limited knowledge of roles & responsibilities of FMC members, and more.  To help solve the problem, NMDHR’s paralegals educated each group on their roles, & responsibilities, the community themselves have develop action plans on how they would help with fencing , cleaning, monitoring drug usage and providing temporary lodging for facility staff.

 The following are key findings from the compact meetings; that structures like the Village Development Committee (VDCs), Facility Management Committee (FMCs), and Community Health Workers (CHWs) are established to enforce community ownership, participation and monitoring. However, what we have noticed so far is that these systems only become effective players when accountability mechanisms are in place to check their functionality! In many communities, these structures are ‘ghosts;’ that is, they are in existence but are not functioning. In places where these are the cases, there are issues of inadequate clean and safe water supply, inadequate hospital beds, little or no sitting furniture, unfenced facility, unfriendly attitude of in-charges and low clinic  attendance of key populations. Government and other healthcare stakeholders should continue funding these systems to effectively operate.

The FMC chairperson in the Mofindor CHP, Mr. Sahr Kemoh who said the work of NMDHR has impacted so much in his community. He said it was in 2019 that NMDHR went to his community and urges them as FMC to be functional by bringing them together with the community health workers, and other key community stakeholders including chiefs, women and youth leaders to own and manage the healthcare facility in his community. Mr. Kemoh continued that during that meeting they were able to scan the facility and look at every actor’s strength in addressing the problems the facility was faced with at the time, and came up with agreed solutions and timelines to address them. As part of the agreements, the Mofindor FMC were supposed to dig a placenta and burning pits, to build structure for facility staff, to fence the facility, and to dig a water well. As it stands, the Mofindor FMC were able to complete all of the following including a three rooms and a parlor apartment as lodging for facility staff.

The Town Chief from the Nyandehun community, Chief Sam Kortu. Applauded NMDHR Team for their innovate community approach in solving community problems. He said their effort has created so much difference in enhancing health justice in his community. He reiterated that before now, the community was less aware about their rights and responsibilities in managing the health facilities. But because of NMDHR’s Paralegals usual community legal education on laws and policies and also the community compact meetings, they have been able to be informed about how to know, use and shape the law in demands for their right in a constructive manner. He continued that during the previous compact meetings, they were responsible to fence, the existing facility and also build another facility to serve the desired catchment population in the Nyandehun Community. As part of the agreements, they have built another structure to be used as new health facility through support from community people and highly placed descendant from the Nyandehun community. But also pleaded that the District Health Management Team, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and other aid agencies to come to their aid and help them to improve their health system in their community  

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