ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF KAVRE
RMF Nepal is in the process of establishing a Community Outreach Program in Kavrepalanchowk (Kavre), Central Region, an area with high maternal and child mortality rates and poor health quality.
Kavre was seriously affected by the recent earthquake and is considered a high priority area by Nepal’s government.
RMF’s program equips and trains existing community groups to:
- Significantly reduce malnutrition among children under 5 driving behavioral changes related to health, nutrition, and hygiene through health education
- Help acutely malnourished children graduate to a healthy status
- Improve maternal and sexual health
- Increase family planning
- Reduce neonatal and infant mortalities
Community Health Educators Groups, comprised mostly of women from marginalized communities:
- Fill gaps in the referral system by raising awareness of services and offering tools to facilitate communication
- Promote maternal and child health at the district and Village Development Committees level
- Ensure that all identified severely malnourished children are admitted
- Improve feeding and care practices for moderately malnourished children
COORDINATION AND PREVENTION
RMF is working in close coordination with existing groups that promote public health:
- Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV)
- Mothers’ Groups
- District Department of Women and Child Development
Through such partnerships RMF enables FCHVs to hold monthly community health and nutrition awareness and training sessions with home visits for one-on-one counseling.
Additional preventive approaches include:
- Participation of extended family
- Focus on the most at-risk moderately malnourished children
- Greater access to local weaning and complementary foods
- Education to solve and avoid problems regarding nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation
- Lessons use various audio, video, pictorial and demonstrative means
Additionally, the program uses mobile phones through the installation of apps to:
- Track cases
- Assist in counseling families
- Facilitate record keeping
- Produce effective monitoring and referral mechanisms
The mobile app guides health educators through their interactions with a family using audio and visual prompts for various topics. The collected information is recorded and stored. Videos starring local role models who have adopted best health practices are produced and screened, encouraging others in the community to follow suit.
THREE KEY CHALLENGES
- A shortage of referrals
- No follow-up on referrals
- Lack of awareness on existing government subsidies and other incentives
RMF’s Community Health Educator Groups are working hard meet these challenges by raising awareness of services and offering tools to facilitate communication.
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