By Kwadwo Duodu

About 80 volunteers have been empowered and equipped to revive the Community Health Volunteer (CHV) program by the Ghana Health Service in the Volta Region of Ghana.

wpid-Nurses.jpgThe volunteers will serve as the first point of call in increasing access to child and maternal health services to the public, particularly in the rural communities.

The CHV program which is being re-activated in the Ketu South Municipality is based on the Community-Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) Zone concept.

Under the CHPS zone concept communities are strategically mapped out and provided with health professionals as a first point of contact on all health issues, including health education. The health professionals also partner community volunteers and other stakeholders to improve access to health care by focusing on prevention and ensuring proper referral protocols.

Dormant Health Volunteers

The Ketu South Disease Control Officer, Dovaid Agbokpe noted that the CHV programme has become dormant for a while due to challenges such as, lack of motivation and support, monitoring and supervision.
He therefore described the re-activation as timely to reverse the declining rate of child and maternal mortalities and epidemics which is usually due to ignorance and delays in access to appropriate health. He added that CHPS Zone concept will also be strengthened saying, ?If successful, the re-activation is expected to be replicated in other parts of the region in the near future.?

The re-activation is part of the Improving Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) Project being undertaken by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in the Keta Municipal, Ketu-South Municipal and Ketu-North District assemblies.

Training of Volunteers

He said the 80 volunteers were recruited from 21 communities under nine CHPS Zones put into two batches of 40 to undertake a week each of intensive residential training at Denu.

The training which comprised both theory and practical among other things bordered on conflict management, antenatal care, concerns regarding child deliveries, immunisation, family planning, nature and symptoms of diseases including malaria, anaemia, cholera and disease surveillance. They were also given logistics, tools and incentives boost their morale and commitment to the work.
Monitoring of Volunteers

Mr. Agbokpe said a monitoring team comprising regional and district teams were being formed to partake in the monthly meetings at the CHPS Zones as a measure to constantly monitor the CHVs. This he said was because; the volunteers will be a strategic link between health workers at the CHPS zones and the community members by giving timely information to both sides.
He commended KOICA for the initiative and support in providing the volunteers with food packages, transport allowances, call credits, raincoats, bags, training wares among others, to sustain their interest.

Madam Kim Heunghee, Project Manager of KOICA, disclosed that under the two year (2014-2016) IMCH Project, the beneficiary districts enjoys supply of equipment, staff retraining and the building of a midwifery school at Keta by the end of 2016 among others.

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