SHIKANDA KAWANGA, Livingstone
THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a US$70,000 grant to Contact Trust Youth Association (CTYA) to improve women and children’s access of health centres.
CTYA executive director Ronnie Jere, who was speaking in an interview said the grant is a 12-months health services community systems to improve health care for women and children in Livingstone.
Mr Jere said the programme is aimed at strengthening Neighbourhood Health Committees (NHC) and Health Centre Committees (HCC) who will be trained to sensitise the communities on health issues.
He said the project is aimed at increasing the number of pregnant women delivering at health centres, increase the proportion of fully immunised children aged between 12 to 23 months, increase retention of HIV patients on ART and use of modern contraceptives.
“The trainings will equip HCCs and NHCs with skills in problem identification process, planning cycle, gender sensitive messaging to raise awareness on the importance of child immunization, modern contraceptives, Anti-Retroviral Treatments(ART) and benefits of delivering at health centres among many others,” he said.
Mr Jere said the training will also sharpen advocacy skills among the committees to speak on behalf of their communities about issues that affect communities.
“The role of these committees is to co-ordinate community volunteers to plan and support health activities in the community and report on activities to the health facility,” he said.
He said communities have a major role to play in achieving health for all through health promotion, early detection of illness, and community-based case management hence the need for NHCs and HCCs.
Mr Jere said the project will be implemented in six health centres namely Army School of Ordinance, Zambia Air Force, Nakatindi and Zambia police clinics.
He said CYTA is working with the Livingstone District Health Office to conduct trainings in participatory community health planning for the committees that will improve community engagement in health related issues.