News @ JSI

JSI’s Community Health Work Lauded by Partner in Madagascar

March 15, 2017

A recent release from British nonprofit Blue Ventures recognized JSI’s contributions to community health in Madagascar by highlighting a productive relationship between the USAID-funded Mahefa Miaraka project, implemented by JSI and the Safidy project.

Blue Ventures acknowledged the partnership’s benefits in a newsletter announcing the Safidy program’s 2016 achievements, saying “Much of this success was thanks to our collaborations with JSI/MAHEFA (now Mahefa Miaraka) and USAID Mikolo, which have helped to diversify the skills and services provided by CHWs.”

The Mahefa Miaraka program and the Safidy project support community-based health service delivery among the fishing communities in the Menabe and Melaky regions of Madagascar with the mutual goal of increasing access to and uptake of services and products among least-

JSI's Mahefa Miaraka team visits a remote community site with partners from Blue Ventures
served populations. The two regions are among the most underserved in the country with regard to health and education services. Both projects’ interest in community health initially sparked a partnership to train individuals enrolled in the Safidy programs as community health volunteers (CHVs) under the USAID-funded MAHEFA project, which JSI implemented from 2011-2016.

The follow-on program, Mahefa Miaraka, is a five-year (2016-2021) USAID-funded initiative dedicated to strengthening the local public health system’s capacity to manage community health activities and to support CHVs. The program will contribute improved health services in 5,205 fokontany, 456 communes, and 34 districts in the regions of Analanjirofo, Sava, Diana, Sofia, Boeny, Melaky, and Menabe. The program will work with 732 primary health care centers, and will train 9,800 CHVs to provide basic health services in the areas of maternal, newborn, and infant health, as well as family planning and reproductive health.

Blue Ventures assists this effort in the Menabe and Malaky regions by extending the reach of community health workers into nomadic fishing communities, filling a gap in the workforce of CHVs selected by the communities and trained by the Mahefa Miaraka program. Without this partnership, the number of CHVs engaged in the program would not be sufficient to provide services to these extremely remote communities. Once Blue Ventures selects the new CHVs from the Safidy communities, the Mahefa Miaraka program provides training, start-up kits, and registration in the Ministry of Health CHV list so the Safidy-supported CHVs become part of the overall basic health providers workforce. They are then supervised by the the basic health center. Blue Ventures also contributes to Mahefa Miaraka’s work by providing a short training for CHVs on the links between population, health, and environment, and the importance of this relationship.

Through the two projects, JSI and Blue Ventures continue to find ways to make basic health services available and sustainable in all remote communities in the program areas.