Community health workers, when trained and equipped to manage simple cases of pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria in children under the age of five, can reduce child mortality caused by these three diseases by up to 60 percent.
Funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Rapid Access Expansion (RAcE 2015) project in Mozambique is a strategic alliance between Malaria Consortium and Save the Children, to support the Mozambican Ministry of Health’s community health programme. The project is focused on improving the quality of care provided by community health workers (locally known as Agentes Polivalentes Elementares or APEs) by strengthening their ability to correctly diagnose, treat and refer children with common diseases and by ensuring that they receive regular supervision to improve performance and correct errors.
In November, Malaria Consortium staff and Provincial Health Directorate authorities carried out supervision visits in Inhambane province, Mozambique, to assess the clinical skills of APEs. In Inhassoro district, we met Linda Noah, a health worker who had cycled 21km on her bike, carrying her seven-month old daughter and her APE kit on her back, to participate in a clinical supervision session. During this session, Linda provided care to three children, all under the age of five, while being observed by district health technicians.
“This was a first for me,” Linda said. “I have never had a clinical evaluation session like this. My supervisors observed my work and advised me right away on what I was doing right or wrong.”
This session made Linda aware of the challenges in correctly assessing danger signs and identifying those children that need an immediate transfer to a health centre.
“I enjoyed coming to this session. I faced many difficulties but I managed to fix them and I hope I will have even more of these kinds of opportunities with my supervisor to improve my work.”
Written by: Adolfo Guambe (Provincial Health Directorate, Inhambane) & Eder Ismael Zerefos (Malaria Consortium)