community health workers
Throughout our time working in Bwasandeku and the surrounding communities, we have seen a growing need for a community health initiative. While our on-site clinic allows for students to seek medical care, their illnesses almost always start at home. Therefore, we find it necessary to expand our Health Initiative into the community by implementing a Community Health Worker program. We believe bridging the health gap between the school and the child’s home begins with strengthening the local health system by empowering and resourcing trustworthy individuals who are native to the area, have a passion for health among their neighbors, and know the community best.
Community Health Workers serve as the primary point of contact for community members dealing with health concerns. They provide basic medical care to their own community through preventative, promotional, and rehabilitative measures. In addition, they are able to refer community members to the appropriate Health Center in cases where they need further treatment or specialized care.
Hence, in consultation with the Kalungu West Health District office, the RTRA school nurse has recruited 14 health workers to be trained, resourced, and stationed in the community to serve as primary health care providers at the community grass roots level.
They are trained in the treatment of medical emergencies, early warning, signs of disease and infection, control of infectious diseases, preventative measures, record keeping, home visits, and data intake.
Within their own communities, these health workers hold three educational trainings per year. In each training, they will educate the surrounding community on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), warning signs, and disease prevention. Using data collected by the RTRA staff, each team will choose 10 RTRA families to work with directly, in order to improve health and hygiene in the home.
We believe that the community health worker model will help students and families maintain healthy lifestyles at home, ensuring their ability to succeed at school. In addition, we hope that this model improves health standards throughout the whole community, making a difference one village at a time.