Being a community agent means effectively supporting routine vaccination during COVID19

Being a community agent means effectively supporting routine vaccination during COVID19

Dr Famatanantsoa RAZANABONINAHITRA
Emma l'agent communautaire avec Elphine et ses jumeaux
UNICEF Madagascar/2020
19 October 2020

RAVAONASOLO Jeanne Emma, ​​aged 46, is a Community Agent and has been working since 2012 with the Basic Health Care Centre (CSB2) of Ambohimanarivo, District Public Health Service (SDSP) of Antsirabe1 (a town in the South of Antananarivo). She is passionate about her work because according to her own statements: "I love building relationships with people and I am proud to serve my country by being a Community Agent even though Community Workers are volunteers without any pay". "Being a Community Agent has given me the opportunity to strengthen my knowledge on different health-related subjects that serve me in the daily life and also to help the population to be in good health."

On Monday, 05 October 2020, the official launch ceremony for the introduction of VAR2 (Measles Vaccine) took place at the CSB2 in Ambohimanarivo.  RAVAONASOLO Jeanne Emma accompanied a mother to have her children vaccinated. Indeed, she managed to convince RAHANTANIRINA Elphine to make sure her two twins receive the second dose of VAR. According to the community agent, "my greatest satisfaction is to see the steps taken and the behaviour changes among families following the awareness-raising works I have done."

RAHANTANIRINA Elphine, the mother in question, is 30 years old and mother of four children, the last of whom are twins (RAFANOMEZANTSOA Joary Setra and RAFANOMEZANTSOA Diary Setra) born in May 2019. Her home is a 1-hour walk from the CSB2 of Ambohimanarivo. This situation does not discourage her from coming to the CSB2 in Ambohimanarivo to get her children vaccinated because she is convinced of the benefits of vaccination.

Her two twins have already been vaccinated with VAR in their ninth month. According to RAHANTANIRINA Elphine, “My four children are all fully vaccinated and have received their vaccination certificates. By immunizing my children, I see that they are always doing well and even if they get sick, the care they need is inexpensive. Regarding the two twins, since their birth, they have never showed any series of signs of sickness, apart from mild diarrhea which does not need any special care. That day, after receiving their doses of VAR2, her two twins again received vaccination certificates, the new version.

According to her, "the existence of Community Agents helps me a lot take care of the health of my children. I am very attentive to the messages conveyed by the community workers.” The existence of COVID-19 is not an obstacle for her to come to the health centre because, as she says, she is reassured by the messages broadcast on the radio, by mobile sound systems that criss-cross the Fokontany (villages). The messages, which are transmitted by RED CROSS volunteers and Community Agents, indeed concern the COVID19, in particular barrier measures to be applied and measures taken in health facilities to avoid contamination.

Finally, with regard to RAVAONASOLO Jeanne Emma again, ​​she continues to fulfil her role as Community Agent even with the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to her work with the Ambohimanarivo CSB2, she has been running a community site since 2019, as part of the implementation of the PARN Project (Project for the Improvement of Nutritional Results). Her wish is to be provided with a bicycle to facilitate her movement in the various sectors she covers.