The community health program was launched in 2012, after two years’ of needs assessment, in partnership with the Iqra Fund.
The first annual Health Awareness Days were held in the four villages of Amezray, Aguddim, Taghia and Tighanimin in May and early June 2012. The gatherings were a huge success and were received with great enthusiasm by the women, as well as leaders of these villages. In the setting of small, participatory discussions, the women expressed their challenges, concerns and accomplishments in many areas including health, nutrition, access to water, childbirth, sanitation and education. The information was gathered with the help of local students then compiled by Dr. Genevieve Chabot, Iqra Fund founder and MSU Faculty, and her team.
Using the information collected at these awareness days, we are excited to continue to develop our community health program for 2013. Some of the top items that were highlighted by the women that we will focus on include:
1). Topics on Community Health
2). Topics on General Health
3). Topics on Infant Health
4). Topics on Midwifery
The importance of clean water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition cannot be underestimated in the overall picture of health, and that is where we are focusing our energies for the Community Health Program 2013. Expanding on the processes in place, our goal is to provide education and resources that achieve long-term health for these four remote communities of Morocco.
Specifically, the goals of the Community Health Program are to:
1. Increase utilization of the Zawiya Ahansal clinic and Azilal hospital by local villagers.
2. Provide education on safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
3. Provide education on improving nutrition, especially for women and children, and proper food storage strategies.
4. Provide general health education for the community.
5. Identify key community health promoters and facilitate leadership to ensure program sustainability.
Zawiya Ahansal currently has one government operated health clinic in the village of Aguddim. The clinic was established in 2009 and is staffed by two midwives and one nurse. Despite the existence of the clinic and new and improved access to health care, many women chose not to use the clinic for health problems and care during pregnancy and childbirth. For this reason, one our primary goals is to facilitate a mutual relationship with the community and the clinic, and hopefully increase clinic utilization by the women of these villages.
With the guidance of local leadership and the Moroccan Association Amezray SMNID, we anticipate the Community Health Program to provide long-term sustainability and improvements in the health of these rural Moroccan communities. With good health, people can focus on important issues like higher education, income generation, and community well being. We are excited to develop strategies for these long-term goals.