|Role||Community Health Worker|
Standing next to the primary health unit in Hayeti village, the vast barren desert sprawled out behind her, Koos describes the time the village was struck down with cholera, ‘there were no supplies, and vaccination services were not reaching the village. Seeing this difficult situation and the people suffering, I wanted to help.’
Somaliland has one of the worst maternal and child mortality rates in the world. With the majority of the population living in isolated, rural areas of the country, many people are unable to access healthcare. Community Health Workers (CHW) can provide a life-line to these communities. As such, THET is training members of remote villages to become CHWs and support their communities with healthcare services they would otherwise not receive.
Koos was selected by her village elders to participate in a nine month Community Health Worker training course, which will give her the skills and knowledge needed to provide essential primary healthcare. ‘I was born in Hayeti, I wanted to help my people in the village because I know they have been suffering.’
In communities that have limited or no access to healthcare, CHWs can provide a life-line to the local population. CHWs can provide basic medical assistance, health education and awareness, and act as a link between the community and their nearest health facility, helping to contribute to the significant reduction of maternal and child mortality. As Koos describes:
‘We are learning how to link pregnant mothers to the health posts and how to care for and save mothers. We are taught how to link mothers when she gives birth at home in the rural areas, and also to care for children, both under 5 years old and older ones. We are learning how to manage and raise awareness on outbreaks and other disease related issues.’
Koos is just one of 39 Community Health Workers who completed the course and is now working back in their home community.