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Strengthening the Community Health Worker System in Urban and Rural Congo

Humana People to People – Congo’s Community Health Worker project, financed by USAID, was recently highlighted in the latest newsletter of Frontline Health. Frontline Health is a network started by USAID and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for organizations working with community health. 

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Workshop participants engage in an interactive activity analyzing community health system reform in the DRC.

 

We share with you the full article with slight editing as published by Frontline Health below.

The Frontline Health project is engaging Integrating Community Health (ICH) partner in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Humana People to People Congo (HPP-Congo), in its ongoing implementation of the project, “Strengthening the Community Health Worker System in Urban and Rural Congo.” The project spans from 2016-2020 in three districts: Kingabwa and Selembao, Kinshasa, and Kasenga, Haut-Katanga Province.

 

Through the project, HPP-Congo seek to strengthen the capacities of Community Health Workers(CHWs) to respond to the health needs of their communities, increase community involvement, and further integrate CHWs into the health system, the project has until now trained 700 active CHWs in the three districts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. CHWs were trained to educate community members about high impact health interventions to end maternal and child deaths, stop the spread of HIV, and address other health challenges. Additionally, project staff trained health workers on the provision of antenatal care (ANC) and postnatal care (PNC) in sixteen clinics that receive referrals from CHWs, and organized quarterly awareness campaigns within their communities. 

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The Ministry of Health (MoH) and other key stakeholders conduct annual project evaluations, with the latest evaluation taking place in October 2019. Thus far, the project’s activities increased uptake of ANC and PNC among women in the three districts and forged stronger integration of CHWs into the public health system.

 

To support integration, HPP-Congo and Last Mile Health (LMH) co-hosted a workshop in October with the Ministry of Health, USAID, Abt Associates, Jhpiego, Caritas, SANRU, and other stakeholders active in community health. Participants utilized LMH’s Community Health Systems Reform Cycle to analyze the status of community health systems reform in the DRC. The Community Health Systems Reform Cycle is a framework intended to explore the process of community health institutionalization and policy reform that can be applied either to the whole system or certain components. HPP-Congo also hosted LMH and a MoH representative in a field visit to observe project activities in Selembao.