A couple of years ago, Honorine Toyou was expecting her first child. Selling juice to get by, Honorine was unsure of how she was going to provide for herself and her daughter since the baby’s father was no longer in the picture. That’s when Honorine first heard about the new community health program that would be implemented into her village.
Although the initial attraction of a steady income is what drew Honorine to the program, she soon saw the benefits that this program brought to her village. When her daughter was three months old, Honorine completed the training, passed the test, and was selected to be the community health worker for the Djamdé village. These days, Honorine no longer worries about providing for her daughter. And when her mother fell ill early last year, Honorine was able to pay for her mother’s treatment with the income from the program.
For the past two years, Honorine sets out each day with her daughter strapped to her back, ready to make a change in the community. Honorine performs home visits where she routinely does prenatal and postnatal visits, checks on sick children, and does post-hospitalization check-ups. She also counsels families in malaria prevention, family planning, and birth plans. The contents of her bright blue backpack are all she needs to successfully diagnose and treat some of the most prominent causes of child and maternal mortality.
Honorine has been able to see the positive changes she has helped create in this community. Most importantly, there has been a huge reduction in the number of deaths within the village. Honorine takes pride in empowering mothers; teaching them to take care of their own health as well as that of their children. On the impact of her work, Heroine says, “People have access to care that they never had before. And I get to be the one they call, the one who makes that happen. That’s why I love my job.”
Community health workers are able to make huge differences in the communities they serve. In rural communities where the people have not been exposed to modern medicine, it helps to have a community health worker act as a liaison. This way, someone they know and trust can explain and introduce medical practices to them. Successful community health programs contribute to community development. The access to basic health skills empowers the communities and creates a more aware, educated environment.
To read more posts about the impact The 30/30 Project has made in Togo, West Africa, check out the links below: