Youth planting their crops
Over the past few months, GWED-G has been rolling out the various components of our project. As a refresher, there are four main areas that our project addresses:
- HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention education
- Maternal health support to address the prevention of mother to child transmission
- Strengthening the Village Health Team
- Providing supplies to local health centers
Here are some of the highlights from the field!
Community sensitization on HIV/AIDS prevention:
In the community sensitization initiative, the main concern is to address the high prevalence of HIV infection in the community. Topics addressed include: HIV modes of transmission and different preventive strategies (such as Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, PMTCT), the benefits and importance of ante-natal care, family planning, early diagnosis of HIV, referral of infected persons for treatment, effective condom use, and adherence to treatment. During the interactive sessions GWED-G staff and community members discuss some of the main contributing factors to the high prevalence of HIV, such as poverty, alcoholism, and adultery. Awareness sessions are highly attended; in one session that focused on maternal and newborn health, over 67 women and youth participated. Blood screening mobilizations have also begun in order to test community members for HIV status.
Formation of a new women’s group in Giragira parish:
A new women’s group was formed in Giragira parish, Labongogali health centre III. Women are important targets for HIV services because they act as change agents to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the community. The formation of this new group will expand the program for PMTCT services to hard to reach villages. GWED-G also strengthened its collaboration with the local health center staff to ensure that mothers are referred for safe delivery at the heath facilities. Most babies in the women’s group were able to be delivered at the health center, which helps reduce the chances of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and also decreases the risk of maternal and infant death during childbirth. When the women in the group meet, they follow up on the HIV positive mothers, counsel and encourage each other to receive medical attention in the health centers, and discuss how to reduce Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in their communities. Another component of the women’s group is a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA), which is a form of community based savings and investment. Women in the group also receive seeds as a form of income generation, which is an important factor in the health of the women and their families. The strength of this project is that it empowers women on many dimensions: health, as they connect to the health centers; economic, as they engage in income generation and savings programs; and personal, as they become role models in their communities.
Meeting with youth groups on VSLA and reproductive health programs:
Under the goal of working with youth groups (composed of men ages 18-35) to continue economic empowerment and HIV prevention, meeting were conducted in various parishes of Coke, Agwayugi and Palema in Lamogi Sub County. The activities began with the training of the youth on VSLA concepts and methodology to help in the selection, planning and management of income generating activities. Emphasis was laid on record keeping, savings, and credit skills. The youth also received vegetables seeds and were able to begin planting their crops. The aim was the enhancement of the livelihood capacities of the youth to enable them to meet their basic needs and thus be better advocates for the right to health amongst the youth in the communities. A total of 90 youths participated in promoting reproductive health education, such as condoms use, and offering free counseling services to fellow youth. All these activities were aimed at promoting a sustainable system of HIV prevention within the communities.
Support to health facilities with hospital equipment
Under the objective of supporting health facilities with hospital equipment, GWED-G and GlobeMed at Columbia donated safe birth kits and baby breathing kits to Kaladima health centre III. The equipment improved the work of the health staff at the health center by providing them with protective gear such as gloves, gowns, and forceps, and baby breathing equipment that provides oxygen during difficult medical conditions encountered at the time of delivery, such as asphyxia, which can case neonatal mortality. Since health centers often lack basic supplies, expecting mothers are usually responsible for providing materials for their own deliveries. By providing safe birth kits, GWED-G enables these mothers to give birth in a health facility. Furthermore, 30 children under the program benefited from a nutritional food supplement of bovine colostrum. During the distributions, a community education session on the benefits of proper nutrition was conducted.
A community sensitization session.
A health facility unpacks new supplies
Mothers learn about PMTCT.
Receiving a nutrition supplement!