We have all heard this saying many times: walk a mile in her shoes then judge. Well on Monday, December 15 congressional staffers visiting Haiti with MSH traveled to Calebasse, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, to spend the morning with a community health worker (CHW) with the Services de Santé de Qualité pour Haïti (SSQH) project, funded by USAID. The SSQH project provides about 50% of the Haitian population with basic health services. The CHW, with the team in tow, visited three families and a group of women, where children were immunized for polio and other key vaccines and mothers received their monthly depo provera shots and prenatal checks.
The CHW is nominated by her community and receives extensive training on how to give basic vaccines and how to use local mobile technology in her daily visits by following a specially designed app in Creole. The data collected during the visits, up to 15 daily, is then uploaded to a larger program database for tracking. The community health worker program is part of the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population’s National Health plan and the goal is to expand the program exponentially.
The true stars of the visits were the faces of the very healthy babies whose moms happily reported that they were exclusively breastfeeding their children.
We only walked a mile in the shoes of one community health worker but it was enough to realize how hard this woman works and the tremendous impact she is making in her community.