Equipping the Community Health System to Respond to COVID-19 in Eswatini

UNICEF Eswatini provided technical and financial support to training of 692 Lead Rural Health Motivators (community health volunteers) from the Ministry of Health.

Tengetile Tsabedze
Group of women holding soap bars
UNICEF Eswatini/2020
09 May 2020

Eswatini is currently tackling the global health pandemic COVID-19, through all platforms in the health sector. UNICEF Eswatini provided technical and financial support to training of 692 Lead Rural Health Motivators (community health volunteers) from the Ministry of Health. The Lead RHMs support over 4,000 volunteers across the country to strengthen community health interventions. The COVID-19 training focuses on prevention of COVID -19 and referral to care. Topics covered include; understanding COVID-19, Handwashing, Use of Locally available resources for handwashing, services in Health facility, Reporting cases and proper Mask wear.

Nurse washing hands from a tippy tap
UNICEF Eswatini/2020
UNICEF supported RHM training, nurse demonstrating how to use locally available material to make a tippy tap for handwashing

This week a further 63 lead RHMs from 4 constituencies in Manzini Region from the 6th May. The training of RHMs follows technical support provided to the programme, in collaboration with WHO where a Training of Trainers was conducted, reaching 14 RHM national trainers.

Standing woman talking to a group of seated women
UNICEF Eswatini/2020
UNICEF supported RHM training participants observing social distance during the training

The country has noted lack of information, and misinformation as a challenge during the COVID-19 response. Through the RHMS, the Ministry of Health aims to tackle the problem, and reach the hardest hit populations, and those in remote areas. The RHMs have been also provided with communication materials in Siswati. The RHMs have also undertaken information provision, and distribution of the communication materials.

To ensure continuity of services, UNICEF has procured over 5000 bars of soap for the RHMs. This is to support infection prevention control measures, especially handwashing during their routine tasks.

UNICEF will continue to strengthen existing health systems including community structures to effectively manage COVID-19.