Pakistan's Rural Communities Fight Against COVID-19

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Integrated Health Systems Strengthening and Service Delivery (IHSS-SD) Activity

OVERVIEW

The Integrated Health Systems Strengthening and Service Delivery (IHSS-SD) Activity is a three-year, USAID-funded initiative to assist Pakistan to further consolidate and strengthen its post-devolution health system at the federal, provincial, district, and community levels. Led by John Snow Incorporated (JSI), the activity is being implemented with consortium partners: Contech International, Jhpiego, and the Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN). The IHSS – SD Activity is being implemented in four districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province: Charsadda, Mohmand, Lakki Marwat, and Swat. The RSPN implements the IHSS – SD Activity’s community component through its partner RSP: the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP). The community component’s interventions add to improving rural communities’ access to basic health services, civic engagement, and government accountability.

The community component has the following key interventions:

Community awareness of Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (MNCH):

To improve rural community’s access to basic health services, awareness sessions, MNCH, birth spacing, hygiene and handwashing, and infectious diseases, with men and women are conducted in uncovered areas in the target districts.

Awareness sessions on Hygiene and handwashing in schools

Prevention from diseases among students is key to their regular attendance in school. Monthly awareness sessions, with 30 – 40 students on average, in 555 schools under the IHSS – SD Activity are conducted to promote positive health-seeking behaviors related to hygiene and handwashing in school. The school awareness sessions are on key themes that include: the understanding the spread of disease (5Fs diagram), the importance and use of latrine, hand washing during critical times and steps, basic water purification methods for drinking, personal hygiene, and school hygiene club roles and responsibilities. School Hygiene Clubs aims to practically engage students in hygiene and handwashing related activities at school, and continue it even after the project life.

Social mobilization for Mobile Health Service Units (MHSU)

The purpose of a Mobile Health Service Unit is to improve under-served, low socio-economic communities’ access to, coverage, and utilization of basic health services. In collaboration with the Department of Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, MHSU camps are held under the IHSS – SD Activity. RSPN through SRSP do social mobilization and demand creation activities for MHSU. Awareness sessions on hygiene and handwashing are also conducted by SRSP’s IHSS – SD Activity staff during the MHSU camp to promote positive behaviors related to hygiene and handwashing.

Community health issue’s representation in District Health and Population Management Team (DHPMT)

A DHPMT consists of both health and population welfare departments, chaired by the district commissioner. It provides a forum to discuss issues and matters related to coordination, planning, and service delivery at the district level. The RSPN nominates 2 community representatives (1 male, 1 female) per district for the DHPMT meetings. The objective is to raise community voice in DHPMT, where the community representatives present, and demand for addressal of, basic health service issues identified by the community on a quarterly basis.

Community notable

Community notables are local bodies, elected representatives, social workers, or teachers willing to voluntarily participate /support in IHSS-SD activities. Their role is to encourage communities’ participation in social mobilization activities, identification of health-related local challenges, prioritization of recommendations for DHPMT meetings, and participate / support in IHSS-SD activities at the local level including MSHU camps etc.

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