Update from the Field
February 15, 2007
Spring is here and Balakot is gradually thawing out after a particularly wet and cold winter. However the weather did not deter neither RMF/HOAP to carry out their proposed plans of community outreach programs nor the recruited community health workers to participate in the training workshop.
Dr. Javeria Abdullah, very graciously offered her services to conduct a training seminar workshop on Maternal and Child health for community health workers who had been recruited by the HOAP/RMF staff on ground in collaboration with councilors, Nazims and other prominent key stakeholders of the communities in Union council Talhatta and Shawal Muizullah. The training outline and material for the 2-day workshop was developed by condensing and modifying the 2-year syllabus of the government based on the Lady Health Worker (LHW) program that was launched in 1996 in collaboration with WHO. Maternal and Child Health Training Seminar
Dr Abdullah has been a trainer of this highly successful program right from its start in 1996. This 10 year experience showed in the ease with which Dr Abdullah adopted the local colloquial for complicated technical terms. The participants, referred as the Community Health Workers, to differentiate from the qualified, government-licensed LHW, were a group of highly enthusiastic young women, many of whom had levels of education far higher than our minimum requirement. We even had three participants with a graduate degree. The young ladies walked long distances in the rain over the two days of the workshop making the participation attendance close to a hundred percent. Booklets of the course along with information pamphlets and samples were distributed over the two days according to the sessions.
The daily evaluation feedback from the participants revealed several factors. The CHWs had the unanimous request for the establishment of a fully equipped and staffed MCH center, capable of handling obstetric/gynecological and pediatric emergencies. The second major concern was that all of them were presently on volunteer basis but they were interested in obtaining comprehensive LHW training followed by a paid employment. We addressed the second request based on the fact that this is a pilot project and their quality of participation, as indicated by the successful results of our proximal outcomes, will determine our ability to obtain funds for a comprehensive CHW program in the near future. Another interesting aspect was that most of their men-folk had voiced hesitations over family planning issues, given that most families had lost several family members. Therefore, we sensitized our approach by reducing the stress on the chapters dealing with family planning.
Our first ever community outreach program has been launched successfully. The two LHVs based in the clinic have been trained to gather as much information from the CHW by visiting each CHW in her village. This systematic approach is advocated by the original LHW program and is hoped to yield comprehensive results. The next training workshop will be discuss the topic of hygiene, particularly in relation to diarrhea and scabies, the tow most commonly presented cases in the OPD.