23 Oct 2016 Community Health Site Inaugurations Mark Progress In Strengthening District Health System
PIVOT has been developing its presence throughout the Ifanadiana District at all levels of care – in the villages, the health centers, and the district hospital. At the community level, PIVOT is working to improve care and infrastructure by renovating, constructing, and furnishing community health sites. These buildings provide a space for Community Health Workers (CHWs) to store medicines and supplies and deliver care to patients in the villages where they live. In September, PIVOT reached a milestone by inaugurating its first community health site in Ambohinihaonana, a village in the Kelilalina commune.
Ambohinihaonana is only reachable by foot and canoe, a trek totaling 12 kilometers from the nearest road, and even farther from the nearest health center. This outpost is a prime example of why healthcare delivery sites are an essential component of PIVOT’s multi-faceted approach to strengthening Madagascar’s public health system. Without sites like this one, the residents of villages such as Ambohinihaonana would have to make these hours-long (or, in some cases, days-long) treks to the nearest health center in order to seek medical treatment while ill.
Now, CHWs – trained and supplied by PIVOT – staff these sites, meaning many cases of common illness can be treated immediately by CHWs in the community. Rather than travel long distances by foot and risk compromising their health, patients are able to see CHWs who can assess their symptoms and either treat them immediately or refer them to a higher level of care.
The inauguration of Ambohinihaonana’s new health site is representative of a deepening partnership between PIVOT and the communities it serves. Of the 22 fokontanys where our community teams are currently working, 21 have completed the construction of their new health sites. With building supplies provided by PIVOT and labor carried out by local residents, the buildings, once finished, belong to members of the community. The process of constructing and opening these outposts represents a mutual commitment by PIVOT, the Ministry of Health, and the communities to further a shared mission of improving the quality of healthcare delivery throughout the district.
The occasion was celebrated with song and dance performed by village residents (see video below), a speech from the mayor of Kelilalina, and a feast hosted by members of the community. Many more inaugurations are expected to take place over the course of the next several months.