Hope Care Foundation takes a multifaceted approach to delivering essential health care in Ghana. We focus on the prevention of malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS and the reduction of infant and under five mortality rates. We increase access to health care by taking health services to the doorstep of the people and improve utilization of government health facilities.
At the centre of our approach are the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), who are selected directly from communities in which we operate and trained to provide basic health care. Every day, 600 dedicated CHVs bring essential health care services to the doorsteps of communities throughout three districts in Ghana. Each CHV has overall responsibility for 150 to 200 households in his/her area that he/she will visit, all within 2 kilometers of his/her home.
During each visit, a CHV checks on the health of the household members, offers treatment for basic illnesses and checks to see if there are any pregnant women in the house, in which case she can refer her for an antenatal checkup. The CHVs earn a small income from selling health care products, such as insecticide-treated nets, contraception and some over-the-counter medicines. For serious cases, they refer patients to health facilities.
CHVs are supported and supervised by Community Health Workers (CHWs), who are staff members responsible for implementing the Hope Care Foundation’s health programme at the grassroots level. One of their duties is to help CHVs conduct community health forums on topics such as sanitation, hygiene, HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.
HOPE CARE FOUNDATION’s Essential Health Care (EHC) programme is a scalable model of community grassroots health care. The overall goal of the programme is to provide basic health services in communities where Hope Care Foundation has established programme offices. Five members of each community we work in are designated and trained as a Community Health Volunteers. CHVs serve the health needs of the entire community, with particular attention to poor women and children.
Reproductive Health Care
One of Hope Care Foundation’s primary concerns is to improve reproductive health care awareness and service utilization. To fulfill this objective, Community Health Volunteers identify pregnant women during their household visits. CHVs make one or two in-home checkups and then refer the women to nearby government or non-government health facilities. The CHVs raise awareness on pregnancy care and ante-natal danger signs and follow up to ensure that ANC and PNC visits are made to health facilities.
CHVs also keep a check on whether clients have taken their Tetanus Toxoid (TT) doses and completed the Intermittent Presumptive Therapy (IPT) courses, which is a promising treatment against childhood malaria in Africa. They also raise awareness on the importance of Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) for HIV/AIDS, and Preventing Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT).
During household visits, the CHV identifies suspected cases of malaria and refers the patients to the nearest government health centers. He/She follows up to determine test results and ensures that the patient is taking their anti-malarial medication. A relative of the patient is put in charge of supervising the drug intake according to their prescription. Volunteer then conducts a follow-up visit to check on the patient’s recovery and to make sure that the patient has not developed further complications. Records of this information are kept in the household visit register of volunteers.
CHVs also distribute Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) in the community and promote the concept of every family member sleeping under a net. She ensures that nets are treated every six months and sells K-O TABS, which are insecticides that are dissolved in water and sprayed on mosquito nets to restore potency. Hope Care Foundation has received National Malaria Control Programme’s permission to distribute ACT (Artemisinin Combination Therapies), a three-day malaria treatment that must be taken under the supervision of a CHV.
The National Malaria Control Programme awarded Hope Care Foundation a Grant of GHC 350,000 equivalent of 250,000 US Dollars for our Malaria project activity which is currently on going in the West Akyem District of Ghana.
CHVs implement a well tested community based approach for increasing and sustaining TB case detection and treatment. During household visits, CHVs ask simple questions related to suspected TB cases and sometimes administer a well design TB algorism (based on symptoms). When a suspected TB patient is identified, the CHV motivates that person to be tested at a nearby government facility. The community health volunteer explains the dangers that TB can pose to the sick person as well as the rest of the family. The CHV then follows up on the patient to determine the test results. If the patient tests positive, the CHV can also act as a Direct Observation Treatment Short Course (DOTS) agent. DOTS involves second party observation of a TB infected person taking a prescribed course of medication so that patients do not default on taking their medication, which results in drug resistance.
During regular household visits, the CHV mobilizes and motivates women to use modern methods of contraception. The Volunteers provides clients with birth control pills and condoms. For other temporary and/or permanent methods, couples are referred to government primary and secondary health care facilities.