Sealing The Cracks: CHW’s Ensuring Inclusive Services for Children With Disabilities.
The Benjamin William Mkapa Foundation in collaboration with AMREF Health Africa under the support of IRISH AID implements the Ustawi wa Mwanamke Project UMP Project in Mwanza and Simiyu Regions. The project strengthens the implementation of Community Based Health Provision (CBHP) and Maternal and Neonatal Child Health (MNCH) with integration of COVID 19 response activities and increase access to health services.
The Ustawi wa Mwanamke Project (UMP) Project is implemented in 334 villages where there are 334 Community Health Workers and 30 Enrolled Nurses were recruited and posted to 29 health facilities to improve Reproductive Maternal and Newborn Child Health (RMNCH) services in Itilima DC, Kwimba DC and Misungwi DC.
In the course of their duties, 6 disabled children were identified by CHW’s, linked with the Social Welfare Office and thereafter provided with wheelchairs and clothes by World Vision Tanzania. These include 3 disabled children from Ikungulipu village and 3 others that the CHW Officer linked to the Social Welfare Officer from Itilima DC.
Children with disabilities are a mostly marginalized and excluded group. They are almost invisible in society and especially in rural areas where access to suitable services for them as well as knowledge regarding child disabilities is limited thus increasing their vulnerability.
4.2 million Tanzanians live with disabilities and 48% do not attend school. 2.3% of the disabled out-of-school are children. There are many gaps in the implementation of policies and regulations for the disabled and this negatively impacts on the services for the disabled.
The CHW deployed by Mkapa Foundation enable early detection and diagnosis and applying the appropriate interventions including early detection of malnourishment from poor feeding and neglect. Assistive devices for the disabled are not easily available especially in the rural areas but the CHW’s mobility promotes coordination between stakeholders thus enabling combined assistance for the children.
Success like this is possible because CHW’s do awareness raising, strengthen child protection mechanisms, and enable early detection and referral where necessary. They also engage with families and communities appreciatively seeking solutions and mobilizing support.
As the old adage goes; when people come together, they can mend a crack in the sky. Two among the six children who received wheelchairs