Modeling healthy behavior for the community in Ethiopia
That was until three months ago, when Zeynu had the opportunity to participate in a community health promoters initiative training, which was organized by the JSI Essential Services for Health in Ethiopia (ESHE) project. During the training, Zeynu learned to use the family health card, a small booklet with key health and nutrition messages. "The training gave me a chance to practice talking about the actual problems we have," she says.
The USAID-funded ESHE project is training community health promoters like Zeynu in Oromia's four zones, in each of their five districts. The assistance that community health promoters provide to the local health service system is remarkable. They are increasing the use of health services, including child and adult immunizations, as well as reducing the number of mothers interrupting their infants from being fully vaccinated. The key messages community health promoters are sending help to save the lives of children and other vulnerable groups.
of immunization, breastfeeding, vitamin A supplementation and sanitation," she says.
Zeynu now uses every opportunity to pass on health messages: on her way to fetch water, when going to the market, and at all social events. "All women in my community are informed about breastfeeding, immunization and sanitation. I did not expect that my contribution would bring about such a change," says Zeynu.
She also uses her training to improve the lives of her own family members, and thus has become a model for the entire community. Using homemade bricks, she built a pit latrine which helps keep her family's home sanitary. Zeynu is now helping other community members to do the same.
As result of Zeynu's training and the messages she is passing on, her community is a safer place to live. "Today my dreams have come true! I won the battle at my home. I have a pit latrine for my family. I talk to my neighbors about its importance and show my latrine as a model. I can't keep quiet unless I pass all the health messages I have learned!"
|Related Project: Ethiopia Essential Services for Health (ESHE) Project (2005-2008)|