Mid Western and Far Western Region Mountains of Nepal have some of the most remote, isolated and deprived villages in whole Nepal. PHASE has been working in 13 of such villages working to improve health, education and livelihood opportunities of the people there. Here is a short overview of the PHASE’s health project in these villages. Through its community health project PHASE has been providing 24-hour primary health service with the help of its dedicated team residing in these villages. PHASE team of registered nurses, health assistants and auxiliary nursing midwives have been providing quality services, awareness activities and free medicines to upgrade the government health posts and out reach clinics in these villages.
In the last six months PHASE team has provided direct clinical services to 47,828 patients through health posts and outreach clinics. Of them 26920 are women and 8895 are children under 5 years. There have been 1137 antenatal checks, 338 successful deliveries by skilled midwives. 2147 couple started to use some kind of contraception for birth spacing.
All these number reflect a significant change in the awareness and behavior of people of the PHASE’s intensive intervention.
In addition to the clinical services and provision of free medicine, there are several other health promotional activities organized regularly by PHASE. Below is the very short description of major health promoting programmes run regularly by the PHASE team in the village.
Door to Door Visits
PHASE ANMs conduct door to door visits three times a week for raising health awareness in the project villages. In these visits, ANM’s work to make sure that nobody is staying ill as their homes relying on traditions remedies; to make sure that every young couple in the village knows about contraception, antenatal checks (ANCs) and proper care during pregnancy; to coach people on proper sanitation of home and around; to counsel people on preventive measures of communicable and non-communicable diseases and related immunizations; to counsel people on regular visit to the health post during any kind of illness; and to spread the word of several practical aspects of a healthy lives.
Strengthening the capacity of Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs)
FCHVs are motivated individuals willing to work free of cost to work on health sector recruited as per the regulations of district public health office. These include: female, permanent resident of the related ward of VDC, interested to work as FCHV for at least 10 years, between 25 and 45 years, married, has children under age five, committed to serving the community, with priority given to those who can read and write and are from underprivileged and marginalized groups. Currently there are 9 FCHVs in each project villages.
Every month PHASE ANMs sit with 9 FCHV from each villages – representing each of the smaller settlements in each, to follow up on health related issues from their localities as well as to coach them on proper handling of their major roles such as:
- To act as community-based, voluntary health educators, promoters, community mobilizers, referral agents and service providers in areas of health, as per trainings received.
- To promote utilization of health services and adoption of preventive health practices.
- To link the community with available PHC services and play key roles in services for family planning, maternal/neonatal health, child health and selected infectious diseases
Strengthening the Health Management Committee
Every month PHASE calls for the meeting of Health Management Committee to reflect on several issues of health post management and to make them aware about their roles and responsibility for efficient running of the health post. Although the committee is the governing body of the health posts at the community level the members are common villagers still not fully aware of their rights and responsibilities. PHASE team is working regularly to bring this to body to become fully functional.
Traditional Healers Training
All the remote communities have tendency to visit Shamans (Dhami or Jhankri in Nepali) and traditional healers as the first contact person whenever they fall ill. This is because people blame gods and goddesses or some evil spirit for their illness instead of germs. PHASE has started to work and counsel these healers in a way that they redirect the patient to visit health post after they have finished the prayers or ritual for gods and goddesses. Working in the community, PHASE respects indigenous culture and practices while working for change. After a series of counselling the healers agreed to sit on a one day training run by PHASE in both the villages. More than 100 traditional healers from these villages have been supporting PHASE in its initiatives .
Health Education Classes to School Children
PHASE Health team has successfully managed to provide 119 events of School Health Education in the schools of project villages in Humla, Mugu and Bajura directly benefiting 3875 school children. During these sessions where the participant students took part in interactive classes provided by health workers and fulfilled any queries related to the topics. This is a unique opportunity for students to interact with real health workers and learn first-hand information about various diseases, preventive measures, personal hyegine, menstrual hygiene, first aid and other related issues.
Empowering Mothers Groups
Every month PHASE ANMs sit with mothers group who are also the mothers-in-law of the families especially to inform, counsel and address the need of extra care of their daughter in-law during their pregnancy and after the delivery of child. In the villages the daughter in law are expected to do all the household chores such as fetching water from tap, doing the cooking, working in farm even during the time of pregnancy. This burden could be lessened if the mothers-in-law are sensitive of these issues. In addition, the mother groups meetings also address common health related awareness like in other health education events.
Participatory Village Cleaning Campaign
With the initiation from PHASE, village cleaning committee has been formed in both the villages and regular cleaning events were conducted. This was done to implement what has been learned in real practice. During the events the villagers were also taught about proper management of waste and reduce the practice of littering. It takes time to bring behavioural change in people’s habit but guided events and regular follow up during home visits have brought gradual change in the sanitation behaviour of the residents.
(PS: Photo Credit goes to EKFS -Simone Utler)