A neighbour’s commitment to the children of Kretchou
Habib is a community health worker, trained to treat preventable diseases in children.
Mahamat Habib lives in Kretchou, a village located 21 km from Mongo in central Chad. He is 30 years old, married with three children.
Habib was a community outreach worker for almost 10 years, he supported community health workers in information and awareness-raising activities held in his village.
Thanks to his commitment, Habib was then selected one year ago to become a community health worker. After his training, he was given a health kit that allows him to treat the first signs of emergency in children: malaria, diahrrea and pulmonary infections, when not treated in time, are the biggest killers for children under five.
Habib's days are dedicated to consultations at the hospital and home visits: ''Every morning, I am at the hospital to help prevent and cure children of malnutrition. We weigh, diagnose, and distribute micronutrients; at the end of the day, I go door to door in the community to assess children who have not been to the hospital," he explains.
During the rainy season, the work gets more difficult, because of the rain itself, but also because most women are busy tending to their fields and are reluctant to miss precious hours of working to take the children to the hospital. But this does not stop him; ''very often, I walk longer distances to meet the mothers in their fields; children’s health depends on it, so it’s my duty to do it'', he adds.
In the past, the people of Kretchou had to travel long distances to have their children treated. This resulted in children being treated too late, with sometimes serious consequences for their health. Thanks to Habib and his fellow health workers’ involvement, the children can be treated timely and with a better follow-up.
‘‘Getting closer to the children of Kretchou and helping to preserve their health is a great action, and for that, I will continue to do my job'' Habib concludes.
Thanks to the support from the German government (KfW), UNICEF has recruited and deployed 146 community health workers in 24 health structures in 86 villages. These health workers have been trained and equipped with emergency kits to treat the first signs of emergency in children and significantly reduce malnutrition.