By Caroline SANG
Empowering Community Health Workers in Bur Abor, Mandera
Islamic Relief is a humanitarian and developmental organization whose mission is to alleviate poverty and suffering of the world’s poorest, vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in the Greater North Eastern Region. As part of the Programmes, Islamic Relief has been supporting the Ministry of Health (MOH) since 2010 to Scale up Nutrition through the implementation of High Impact Nutrition Interventions (HINI) in Mandera County. This has been done through on job training to all health care providers as well as the community health workers. These health workers are responsible for counselling families to take advantage of government health services, and to adopt healthier behaviors.
Community health workers and especially women, despite the challenges faced in the community are in fact in fulfilling a socially valued role. One such community health worker who has benefited from these on job training sessions is Dakane Osman. She is a community health worker attached to Bur-Abor dispensary in Mandera East sub-county. She has been in service since 2004 serving the communities of Bur-Abor and Fikow villages.
“I have always wanted to help my people get health-care, growing up and watching children succumb to complications related to malnutrition motivated me to do more in order to reduce that, I am forever grateful to Islamic Relief for mentoring and empowering me to be able to serve my people” says Dakane
Dakane has been empowered through various trainings supported by Islamic Relief such as Essential Nutrition package training, frequent trainings on IMAM, MIYCN and MNP among others. She is now able to triage a malnourished child, manage, do home visits until the child attains full recovery. She plays the lead role of giving health talks on various issues pertaining health through mother support groups that she initiated with the help of the Ministry of Health and Islamic Relief.
Making A difference
Dakane reports to the facility daily where she goes about her daily chores as the community health worker. She assists the Health facility in-charge in dispensing drugs, growth monitoring, triaging and managing all the nutrition beneficiaries admitted to different nutrition programs within the facility. She is involved in active case findings in the community so as to ensure the coverage of the program. She is enthusiastically involved in defaulter tracing, this translates to low defaulter rates and higher recovery rates.
Being a mother herself, she serves as a role model to the community by implementing proper infant and young child nutrition. She influences the community with the same knowledge by giving regular trainings to the other mothers in the mother support group. Some of the topics discussed during such trainings are exclusive breastfeeding, timely complementary feeding and importance of immunizations, growth monitoring and proper hygiene.
“I have noticed a great behavior change among the women in my
community and I am positive that with this practice no child in Bur Abor and Fikow villages will succumb to preventable child illnesses” a happy Dakane concludes.