Volunteers “backstop” for health workers
Hawawu Mahama and Zainabu Abubakar have something in common; there are Community Based Agents who are trained to support health workers to treat minor illnesses such as malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia in children aged 6 months to five years old. This intervention of community members supporting the health care system is Integrated community case management in action.
Hawawu and Zanabu live in Kpilo in the the Kumbungu district of the Northern region of Ghana, where the terrain and inadequate health facilities makes access to health care difficult. The nearest facility – a community-based health planning and services (CHPS) center, is about 8 km away from their community. These two volunteers fill an enormous gap in the health delivery system and by their commitment many lives are saved.
“I am helping my community even in the night when a child is brought to me, I treat them and that’s my contribution to my society” says Hawawu Mahama confidently. Zanaibu’s motivation is because of the distance to the nearest health facility and the consequences if a parent has to travel that distance to help a sick child.