Submitted by Michaela Sholes
It is such an encouragement to me to be able to spend time with the health reps, whether in person during the trainings or via phone conversations! I thoroughly enjoy working with them to address any questions or concerns, but also just to hear from them and learn how they are making an impact in their homes. A recent blog addressed some ETCHE-related numbers, including the number of people impacted simply through attending health talks in their own communities by the health volunteers. I'd like to take this blog in a slightly different direction and talk about some of the changes reported as a result of what they are learning:
One of the health volunteers (who is also a teacher at the local primary school) recently shared with me how he had taught his students the "Hand-Washing Song" and as a result, has seen a marked increase in the number of children practicing good hand-washing habits. He also noticed that fewer children were missing school as a result of diarrheal disease. An observation shared by several of the Queen Mothers across communities, as they shared at the training how they have seen for themselves that there have been fewer bouts of diarrheal disease, despite it being the rainy season...a time when the communities typically see a spike in diarrhea.
In addition to increased hand-washing, several communities also reported mobilization efforts by the people to reduce urination and defecation in or near the river or lake in order to help reduce the transmission of schistosomiasis and other illnesses. The support of community authorities like the chiefs and elders in a community is critical in order to affect that level of reach, and we are glad to hear that they actively support the information they've received with the ETCHE drops!
We consider ourselves privileged to work with these communities and individuals who are working so hard to see positive change in their own homes!