EMT Reaches More Patients Following CCIH Small Grant
November 9, 2023
The Église Methodiste du Togo (EMT) Health Department is treating more patients at its Zouvi Health Center after a CCIH Small Grant supporting community outreach, staff training, and facility improvements.
The objectives of the Small Grant were to enable the Zouvi Health Center to retrain health staff, renovate the building, and purchase a generator to ensure the facility has a consistent electricity supply. The work was completed in early 2023, and EMT has already seen significant increases in overall patients treated, prenatal consultations, and births at the center. (Above photo shows the Zouvi Health Center after renovation. Credit EMT PMDCT)
“Based on data from 2022 and data from the period of January 1 to September 30, 2023, we are on track to have a 30 percent increase in nursing visits, a 26 percent increase in births, and a 29 percent increase in prenatal consultations at the health center,” said Lazare Kouadjo, Executive Director, PMDCT (Programme Méthodiste de Développement Communautaire au Togo), EMT.
M. Lazare Kouadjo credits the increase in patients served to the building renovations, which raised the health center’s profile in the community; the increased capacity of the maternity ward and infirmary; and increased staff capacity to care for and monitor patients. Greater availability of electricity thanks to the new generator has improved lighting at the health center, enabled the staff to work more efficiently at night and during emergencies, and improved the center’s water supply and safety system. (Photo below shows a new maternal delivery room. Credit EMT PMDCT)
A strong health facility in this region is crucial for the community. Zouvi is approximately 105 kilometers from the city of Lomé. Much of the local population are subsistence farmers, and the nearest government health facility is about seven kilometers away. The village is accessed by untarred roads, which makes accessibility difficult, especially during the rainy season from March to early October.
Healthcare Staff Capacity Strengthening
“Thanks to the funding for this project, healthcare staff have been retrained in new approaches to managing malaria and other common illnesses,” said Reverend Folly Kangni Situ Bernard, Project Manager. “We have also trained nurses and midwives in HIV case management protocols and established close collaboration between the Zouvi Health Center and the District public hospital to provide consistent care for pediatric HIV patients.”
Many of the health workers who received training expressed their appreciation for the training, especially for training on breast and cervical cancer. “After this training, I’m able to talk about prevention and the process of managing breast cancer,” said one health worker.
Raising Community Awareness
EMT PMDCT organized awareness-raising sessions and home visits to educate the community on health in general, the health center, and why it is essential to avoid traditional treatments and self-medication that are not evidence-based. (Photo below shows a meeting with community stakeholders. Credit EMT PMDCT)
An advanced home first-aid strategy for home births has also been put in place. A midwife intervenes in these cases to provide care for the newborn and the mother and then brings them back to the center for better follow-up. In addition, Community Health Workers (CHW) receive cases of illness at home and refer them to the health center for more advanced care.
EMT uses message guides, training aids, audio-visual tools, sketches, and role-playing to reach the community. EMT conducted educational sessions on breastfeeding and breast and cervical cancer for women and girls in the project area. Health staff held sessions on hypertension awareness and diabetes for women’s associations and others, such as members of the chiefdom, Village Development Committees, Community Health Workers, and more. EMT also distributed personal hygiene kits and sensitized community members on the importance of handwashing.
“Thanks to the services offered by the health center, the awareness raising, and the affordable cost of care, the majority of the community have become conscious of their risky practices of traditional and nonmedical treatments,” said M. Lazare Kouadjo. “They now understand that being treated in a health facility is a better and more sustainable solution to treat disease.”