Throughout 2017 we’ll be working to support the development of new health-environment partnerships while helping to consolidate and ensure the quality of existing ones. We’ll be launching a suite of technical resources and community outreach materials within an online knowledge management system designed to facilitate the collation of results and sharing of effective practices among network members. And we’ll be facilitating regional coordination / training workshops and learning exchanges to provide lots of opportunities for networks members to connect and deepen their competencies for cross-sector partnerships. Finally we’ll be sharing our experiences with other PHE networks in the western Indian Ocean and beyond.
Thanks for being part of our journey. We’re looking forward to a productive year together with you!
New health program launches with potential for PHE partnerships
Following on from the Mahefa (Malagasy Healthy Families) program through which JSI contributed to the PHE movement in Madagascar, a new Community Capacity for Health program known locally as Mahefa Miaraka is bringing together JSI and the Ministry of Public Health with the aim of strengthening community-based health services and systems in seven regions across the country: Analanjirofo, Sava, Diana, Sofia, Boeny, Melaky and Menabe. Funded by USAID, the program is set to run for five years (2016-2021) and cover over 5,000 fokontany in more than 400 communes and 30 districts.
Like its predecessor, Mahefa Miaraka is an integrated health program encompassing family planning / reproductive health; maternal, neonatal and infant health; water, sanitation and hygiene; malaria; and nutrition. The program is open to developing PHE partnerships with environmental organisations working in its target regions, and JSI is looking forward to remaining an active member of the PHE network over the coming years.
Environmental organisations connect with health agencies through regional MIHARI forums
November saw the PHE network participating in the final regional MIHARI locally managed marine area forum of 2016, held on Ile Sainte Marie for northeast-based MIHARI network members. A short PHE session was included to enable environmental organisations working in this region to learn about the PHE approach and opportunities to collaborate with health agencies, with a presentation from the regional director of Mahefa Miaraka’s Analanjirofo office. Site visits to Cétamada’s site allowed forum participants to see their Anjaranay health centre, which is due to open soon. This rounded up the PHE network’s contribution to all four regional MIHARI forums last year, with dedicated regional PHE meetings and workshops planned for this year.
This article produced by the MIHARI network highlights the value of PHE for advancing local marine management efforts, and we look forward to working closely with MIHARI network members to bring PHE initiatives to more coastal communities over the coming year.
The latest updates from PHE network members
SEED Madagascar: SEED has completed a six-month PHE community consultation in the rural commune of Mahatalaky; a remote part of the Anosy region in southeast Madagascar. Aimed at developing a comprehensive understanding of the interlinked challenges faced by isolated communities in this commune, the consultation identified a range of unmet community needs as well as potential opportunities for bringing together regional actors and leveraging existing community structures in order to address these.
Key issues raised by the consultation included reliance on traditional health service providers, limited capacity of community health agents, lack of access to accurate health information, lack of partner support for family planning, reliance on limited natural resources for food and livelihoods, insecure land tenure, lack of training and inputs for alternative livelihoods, and non-compliance with local natural resource management rules. SEED is currently preparing a holistic PHE initiative in order to address these issues. This initiative is due to include the facilitation and development of PHE partnerships among regional health and environmental actors, training and support for community health agents, the creation of community forums for advancing local environmental and health initiatives, and training for SEED staff in integrated PHE community outreach.
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society): WCS is advancing its PHE partnerships with the Regional Directorate of Health (DRS) for the Analanjirofo region and Marie Stopes Madagascar (MSM). Together they are carrying out joint activities in the MaMaBaie marine and terrestrial landscape of northeast Madagascar, which encompasses the Makira natural park, Masoala national park and Antongil Bay locally managed marine areas.
Joint activities were recently completed over two days. The first day consisted of awareness-raising sessions on a variety of topics including basic health, sanitation and family planning followed by the distribution of deworming tablets and vitamins for both children and adults. 510 adults and children received deworming tablets. A radio quiz on hygiene was organised, with prizes including soap, Sur’Eau, toothpaste and toothbrushes. The second day was devoted to family planning counselling and services. 75 women came to receive information, an additional 48 women chose to use contraceptive pills and 17 other women chose to use long-acting methods (including implants and intra-uterine devices).
WCS is now exploring the possibility of securing additional training for community health agents working in this area in order to strengthen their capacity and improve their services.
Blue Ventures: Blue Ventures regularly conducts “village outreach tours” (VOTs) in its programme sites in order to raise awareness and facilitate discussions about the links between family planning, community health, local livelihoods and natural resource management.
Blue Ventures’ most recent VOT in the Velondriake locally managed marine area was completed in collaboration with PSI (Population Services International), whose regional southwest team contributed behaviour change communication videos and outreach techniques. As an example, communities benefited from demonstrations of the use of Sur'Eau (to treat drinking water) and condoms. This was valuable in reinforcing Blue Ventures’ community health promotion efforts in the area, as part of its integrated PHE approach.