Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)-funded Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Project of GNI Nepal aims to strengthen community-based health services and their accessibility. Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) are critical to community health in Nepal. They address various practical issues related to health-related behaviors. More importantly, FCHVs play an important role in identifying pregnant women and referring them to health facilities to prevent possible difficulties in childbirth.
The MCH Project targets all 22 wards and 78 respective FCHVs in Mugu, the project district. These FCHVs’ will engage in door-to-door visits to sensitize women and expectant mothers on vital maternal and child health and health issues. To update the FCHVs’ knowledge of maternal and child health, they took part in a 4-day refresher training in July and 10-day basic training in November 2022 organized by the MCH Project. Project facilitators and health post-in-charges served as trainers.
They were also provided with an FCHV kit, including a bag, torchlight, umbrella, two pens, diary, and cell phone recharge card (NRs. 100/month). Equipped with basic but essential logistical support, the female community health volunteers are expected to proactively work toward improving maternal and child health outcomes of 6,552 households in Mugu through home visits. They will get a mobilization allowance on par with the government allowance. Until December 2022, FCHVs will be mobilized for seven days every month.
The FCHVs will also determine the number of families, pregnant women, new mothers, ANC and PNC status, immunization status, under-five children, maternal and child deaths, and maternal and status of child health-related problems in the district.
Local families will be able to make the right and timely decisions, change their behavior, and learn about government services regarding MCH as a result of the FCHVs mobilization. MCH Project has supported such home visits and Health Mothers’ Groups activity since July 2022.
In the past six months, 78 FCHVs have successfully visited 6,560 households and passed on critical maternal-child health information to 5,072 Health Mothers’ Group members. To further encourage FCHVs and celebrate this remarkable achievement, District Health Office (DHO) in Mugu and MCH Project team organized an event in the first week of December.
Soon-to-be retiring and 12 currently active FCHVs, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to community health, were honored with a token of love and provided incentives, information, education, and communications (IEC) materials, and a stretcher. A short interaction was also held on how to support the FCHVs community activities further.
Manjan Bahadur Shahi, Chairperson, District Coordination Committee; Bhim Malla-Officer, District Coordination Committee Office; Gajendra Malla, Chairperson, Hospital Development Committee, Umesh Gautam, District Health Office; Gansing Budha, Officer, District Health Office, and Deep Rawal, Officer, District Health Office, and forty FCHVs participated in the event.
GNI Nepal is implementing the Maternal and Child Health Project in collaboration with KIRDARC Nepal (Karnali Integrated Rural Development and Research Center Nepal).