It is established for the fact that most health problems of the country and province are primarily related to individual, group behaviors and life styles. Medical staffs are not in a position to address fully those health problems that require continuous preventive and promotional activities. In other words, maintenance of health life and prevention of diseases in a community demands professionals who can apply models and practices of effective health education, communication for behavior change in a desired direction.
In addition to the existing health problems, communicable and non-communicable diseases could not be tackled in any other way than equipping every citizen or community member with the necessary knowledge of root of transmission and prevention mechanisms and motivating people to enforce those remedies. These actions require a wide range of activities including health education, advocacy, community participation, mobilization and behavior change communication by social organizers.
PPHI Balochistan had mainly focused on preventive and promotive healthcare: information, communication, health education and effective behavior change approaches towards health have been emphasized. On the other hand, it is well observed that there has been a shortage of adequately trained health professional in the field of information education and communication (IEC). Community activities are successfully promoted with reference to the their own ideas of purity/pollution, cleanliness/dirtiness, and health/illness.
FUNCTIONS OF SUPPORT GROUP AND COMMUNITIES
PPHI-B organizes a “Support Group” attached to every BHU. Each Group comprises carefully selected individuals who represent important interests like elected councilors, notables, teachers, religious leaders, students and minorities, etc. The Group meets at least once a month and integrates the BHU with the community that has a stake in the services delivered through the BHU. It is a responsibility of the Group to see that the BHU is enabled, on a sustained basis, to provide larger and better range of services. Social organizer conducts meetings of the support group.
In most of the cases, social group members with the facilitation of health personnel and social organizers carry out health education and promotion. The support groups serve as a bridge between the communities and PPHI-B. Such engagement achieves the following objectives:
- Community health sessions at the BHUs through the medics and paramedics.
- Community health sessions in the villages through support groups
- School health sessions for educating children on health
- Need assessment for sustainable PHC services
- Community mobilization for maximum participation in PHC related initiatives
- Identifying different health and social issues and devise ways and means for their solution with the help of the community through a participatory approach.
- Regular contact with people through monthly support group meeting
These community-based groups provide a strong support for delivery of healthcare services.
COMMUNITY HEALTH SESSIONS & SCHOOL/ MADRESAH SESSIONS
Preventing disease is key to improving national and provincial health and to keep raising health costs under control. As we invest in prevention, the benefits are broadly shared. Children grow up in communities and families that nurture their healthy development, and adults are productive and healthy, both inside and outside the workplace. Businesses benefit because healthier workforce reduces long-term health-care costs and increases stability and productivity. Furthermore, communities that offer healthy, productive, stable workforce can be more attractive places for living.
The national health care system is experiencing a dramatic change from what it was a few decades ago. Preventive, as opposed to curative, health care has become the preferred option in most developed countries as it allows employees to be more productive. However, preventive health care in Pakistan is yet at an early stage. While, sedentary lifestyle has led to heart diseases and high levels of stress. Preventive health care involves measures to identify and minimize the risk of diseases, and alter the course of existing ones for a healthy and productive life.
Community health sessions and School/Madresah Sessions are regular activities in the field. Every Social Organizer and medical officer/paramedic is now going out into the villages and getting the community together for interactive sessions on healthcare issues. These sessions are expected to create and enhance public awareness on hygiene, sanitation, hand washing, nutrition, family health, disease prevention, family planning, immunization, inoculations, child health, etc. Family and community involvement is crucial for healthy home behaviors during pregnancy and has been shown to be a major determinant to use of ANC services. Establishing link among the community where as the facility can increase utilization of services, including ANC, and impact maternal and neonatal mortality as well as stillbirths. The male partner or the mother or mother in law should be welcome to attend an ANC session with the woman. Their support can help the woman follow the ANC recommendations, encourage shared decision-making, and improve the health for both mother and newborn. The students are educated about the general health issues and are also provided treatment / screening.