ERF-UNOCHA through Oxfam, is providing community capacity building in cholera mitigation. Based on the success in Mutare and Chiredzi, ZimAHEAD has been contracted to provide yet another Community Health Club programme in high density urban areas of Masvingo Town. All the 10 wards under the Masvingo City Council Authority are being covered by 9 Community Based Facilitators (CBFs) and 10 School Based Facilitators (SBFs). Community participation has been infectious with targets being surpassed and clubs being over subscribed so much that the CBFs are forming new clubs owing to community demand. With the resultant improved understanding of disease causality, communities will be better able to prevent outbreaks and will manage any disasters that may visit upon them.
Clean Up campaigns
There are now ten new health clubs in Masvingo Town, with 930 members. The CHCs have embarked on massive clean up campaigns that have removed tonnes of waste from illegal dump sites as well as cleaning out storm water drains. These activities are being done following a PHHE session on community mapping as communities felt compelled into action to clean their surroundings upon realisation that dirty environments were potentially hazardous to their health. Councillors are also participating in the exercise. Some of them are reportedly buying refreshments for clean up participants.
The PHHE sessions are moving smoothly with the pace towards the time frame of the project. Meanwhile we are on the eighth session with high participation by club members of different age groups and phenomenal behaviour change is taking place daily.
To quote an elderly woman
“…… we used to have a clean city but lately things had deteriorated. This organisation of community effort will leave the city very clean. This is what we want for our city to be rid of diseases…….”
New health clubs are being registered as demand is increasing especially in wards 1, 2, 3 and 6.
Evidence of positive behaviour change noted in the wards is by the increasing number of health club activity attendance, mushrooming of tippy tapes, several clean up campaigns, high knowledge on WSRD and a demonstrated increase in hygiene consciousness by club members.
In Garikai an area, an area that is situated northeast of ward 3 behaviour changes is more marked as shown by adoption of the recommended hygiene practises such as constructing pot racks, digging and using refuse pits, hand wash facilities (tip taps).
The community is exited about the club activities and are happy to see the changes that are coming in their community through health clubs as this community says they were previously looked down upon by their counterparts from the old location as theirs was a fast trekked settlement in response to the government’s Operation Restore Order (Murambatsvina) that saw massive destruction of all informal houses in Zimbabwe and thus their location has inadequate water and zero sewer system and no electricity. Now they see themselves moving up on the sanitation ladder and water ladder.
Health promotion through Community Health Clubs and School Health Clubs has once again encouraged community ownership, community control and has increased community responsibility over health and developmental issues.
Report by Regis Matimati, Programme Manager, Zim AHEAD,