A Brief Introduction to Community Engagement
A Brief Introduction to Malaria Diagnostics
According to the 2012 census the total population of Vingunguti is around approximately 100,000 and the area is largely comprised of informal settlements. It is located beside a waste stabilization pond, and consequently sanitation is a significant issue for the community.
When considering the types of sanitation products used by households, a survey conducted in 2015 found that: 44% of households use hand soaps, 28% of households use purification tablets, whilst contraceptive products, fortified foods and bed nets are not used frequently. This is due to both financial restraints, such as not having enough disposable income to prioritise sanitation products, as well as consumption habits. For example, mosquito nets are sometimes used to cover the chickens, whilst other products are not brought as clothes may be prioritised. This reinforces the need for maternal health workshops and sanitation workshops conducted this year.
The health team ran three workshops over the final three weekends of the summer. These were conducted by Childbirth Survival International (CSI), using a curriculum devised by community engagement. The curriculum covered the topics of maternal health, UTIs, cervical and breast cancer and sexual health. At the end of the workshop, true or false cards were used to test the knowledge people had obtained throughout the workshop.
Two sanitation workshops were conducted in the final week of the project. These workshops used the Waterscope microscopes to help children understand how microscopes can be used to observe plants, animals and bacteria, and to understand how disease is spread through bacterial transmission (hands, water, flies). It also aimed to help children understand methods for preventing the spread of disease (washing hands with antibacterial soap; boiling water). Through this interactive workshop, the children could learn how to use microscopes and identify bacteria.
In terms of the maternal health workshops ran by the health team, Impact Evaluations highlighted them as successful and engaging. 19 commented on how happy they were with the workshop, whilst 17 commented that they wished there were more workshops in the future. Out of these, two called for workshops to be twice a week, whilst two asked for three times a year. The participants were clearly enthusiastic, as the group constantly answered questions, sang and cheered. CDI is still in the process of assessing the long-term impact of educational workshops through surveying past participants over the phone.
The sanitation workshops were similar in terms of positive feedback from participants. All groups said they would like to use the microscope more, and one group even asked for microscopes to be introduced into school
Observations taken during summer 2017 helped to confirm the need for workshops on women’s health and child sanitation. We are working towards designing future workshops in a way that would allow for more rigorous impact evaluations. Meanwhile, CDI believes in engaging community and empowering local leaders to reach sustainable solutions for delivering health care. We are working to engage community health workers in our projects so that the workshops could be continued after our departure. Lastly, we will be looking to originate new ideas for creative solutions to other pressing health issues within the community.