When the pre-school feeding program was beginning, WHEAMS observed that some of the children had skin rashes and other health concerns that demanded medical attention. The children would come to school wearing dirty clothes, and without taking a proper bath because their parents could not afford a tablet of soap.
A partnership with a local clinical officer was created to assist in determining the main medical concerns of the children, address them, and put in preventative hygiene education. This was then carried out by the Women’s Empowerment Program to all the families of the children. Sanitation and good health practices are a big concern, but through the Women’s Empowerment Programme WHEAMS is lobbying for general body and home hygiene. The women play a larger role by helping disseminate information to the community.
Improved health has been evidenced by reduced numbers of absenteeism due to illness. General hygiene is being embraced by the people, the are eager to accept soap tablets that are being handed out and training about general body and home hygiene.
Challenges to Health:
1. High rate of HIV+ villagers
2. Malaria – as seen in fever and high temperatures, and bilharzia.
3. Accessibility of drugs
4. Accessibility to Primary Care and public health initiatives
It is reported that over 300 people (including children) came. Of particular interest is that when the government officials heard that this was going to be a day for offering medical services to the people of Thukuta, they arranged their own program, taking advantage of WHEAMS’ community mobilization campaign. And so, the government brought their own medical team to provide vaccination against elephantiasis. According to the district’s medical report, this was the only time they were able to vaccinate more people because they found a group that was already organized.
The children and their parents were of course assisted, and today you can literally see the improvement on the health of the children.