The key to effective primary healthcare in rural areas lies in community participation. The communities participate in different ways by nominating the members of the clinic management committees, and by providing labor for health center construction.
In accordance with the national policy in Nigeria, AMURT strives to establish strong community management in all the health facilities it assists. Through good management of the Drug Revolving Fund, the management committee can ensure that essential drugs and supplies are always available in the health center. With a modest mark up on drugs, the health centers can cover operating expenses like cleaning supplies, cleaners, fuel, and crucially save money for maintenance and repairs. Moreover, all the health centers have been able to save funds from other revenue for construction for expansion and upgrades.
In coordination with local leadership, AMURT recruits Community Resource Persons from the local project areas to help ensure 24 hour service in the health centers. The presence of locals on the staff has been crucial in strengthening the bond between the health centers and the communities. It has contributed to increased community confidence and higher patronage. The local staff easily organize outreach programs and when needed follow up on pregnant women with home visits. The local staff has been reliable in being at their post and doing their best for their own people. With an empowered community as the leading partner, we have taken a big step towards sustainability.
As part of AMURT’s criteria for the free delivery program, the women in each village elect a maternal health promoter from amongst themselves. These health promoters conduct monthly pregnant women support group meetings and work closely with health workers from the health centre. Their responsibilities include identifying pregnant women, educating and guiding expectant mothers, and monitoring pregnancies and deliveries. As community based volunteers, they ensure that the program is well anchored at the grassroots, and play a key role in promoting safe motherhood in communities. The maternal health promoters also help organizing health rallies to create awareness, acceptance and access for family planning in the rural villages.
Community Health Promoters