This blog post is the final part of a series that takes a closer look at our Community-Hospital Alliance Program (CHAP). In case you missed Part I, Part II, Part III, or Part IV, click on the links to learn about the program’s process and impact. We are currently raising funds for the medical supplies our CHWs and clinics need to operate. Please consider a donation to help sustain this important program.
Consider this: For every 100,000 people living in Tanzania, there are two doctors. The work of our trained Community Health Workers (CHWs) has never been more important. The scarcity of health workers constitutes a major barrier to the provision of essential health services such as safe delivery, childhood immunizations, and the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. CHAP is a small-scale, local response to this incredible deficiency.
Unfortunately, a short supply of doctors is not the only obstacle. Due to the lack of government funding in the district in which our 30 Community Health Workers live and work, our trained CHWs must try to do their jobs without the proper medical supplies, once again hindering the healthcare of those living in rural Tanzania.
Our CHWs serve an incredibly important purpose. These 30 women provide their fellow villagers with health education (topics include malaria prevention, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, safe water practices, sanitation, gender-based violence, superstition and health, and albinism). They provide disease surveillance and prevention. They register vital events. They triage people with injuries or illnesses. They coordinate referrals to health facilities.
CHWs provide direct patient care in response to emergencies and basic care of injuries such as minor abrasions, cuts, and burns. Emergency care may involve delivering a baby in distress, neonatal resuscitation, control of post-partum hemorrhage, splinting of fractures, and other situations where the patient is unable to get to a healthcare facility in time for more specialized care—a common problem due to the poor transportation options and great distances to healthcare facilities.
The women that Empower Tanzania has trained as CHWs must walk for several hours to visit patients (one told our staff she must walk 8 hours to see a patient), and yet they are becoming increasingly accepted and relied upon as a source for medical information by their fellow villagers, as well as providers of basic healthcare services and service coordination. This gives them a special status in the community and they are very proud of their knowledge, important role, and empowerment. The men increasingly respect the various ways the CHWs are contributing to the societies and the recent official involvement of male representatives in the program enhances the respect and coordination.
This new role for key women in each Maasai village is a fundamental change in women’s positions in these villages. Rather than complete subordination to the men, these women operate relatively independently of men and contribute in a unique way to the betterment of everyone. Rather than being a threat to male domination, they are demonstrating the potential for women to grow and contribute in completely new directions without conflicting with men.
In order to see this program through to its full potential, we need your help. We’re asking our kind donors to consider a contribution toward the $3,750 needed for basic medical supplies to stock our 21 rural health clinics and equip our 30 trained Community Health Workers for an entire year. You can help us help our CHWs administer basic healthcare to the thousands who rely on them. It’s remarkable, really, what your dollar can do:
$175 will equip an entire clinic for an entire year $125 will provide all supplies for one CHW for an entire year $60 will buy a year's supply of anti-bacterial soap for all clinics $30 will supply medical gloves for one CHW for an entire year $10 will supply bandages for one CHW for an entire year
Through CHAP and programs like it, Empower Tanzania is educating rural women so that they can care for the people of their community with skill and knowledge that is theirs forever. CHAP provides EDUCATION and EMPOWERMENT. Please consider a donation in support of this program today.