Togolese Celebrate 250 New Community Health Care Workers

Togolese Celebrate 250 New Community Health Care Workers

Health care worker after receiving a vest, backpack, bicycle and lockbox. Photo credit: MSH.

Early in the morning of October 5, hundreds of well-dressed Togolese traveled from all 16 cantons or sub-districts of Haho District and the surrounding regions to Asrama, Togo. An estimated 400 people gathered there to watch a ceremony introducing 250 newly-trained community health workers -- part of the Action for West Africa Region II (AWARE II) project, supported by USAID and led by MSH.

Asrama is picturesque and surrounded by green forests and vegetation -- thanks to a six month rainy season ending in October. The canton (sub-district) is home to 45 villages, and is inhabited by more than 35,000 people who share only two health centers. The district hospital is 30 kilometers away.

The launch was a day of celebration for the effective delivery of family planning and child health services by community health workers. Everyone in attendance applauded as the Canton Chief pleaded for more health centers and spoke of the importance in bringing the AWARE II project to his canton.

Other Canton Chiefs were in attendance along with village chiefs, religious leaders, government officials, international and local NGO representatives, community members, government health personnel from all levels, singers, dancers, and bands.

Issakha Diallo, AWARE II project director, shaking hands with the Canton Chief. Photo credit: MSH.

The enthusiasm for the ceremony was tangible. The community health workers beamed as they received recognition, praise, and congratulations -- as well as commitment from the officials and community leaders to support their work.

The workers received official bags with equipment, a lock box to safely store their drugs, contraceptive pills, and injectable contraceptives -- and the promise that their bicycles will be delivered within the next week.

The day ended with a festive lunch hosted by the Chief of the Canton at his residence; another symbol of community commitment for the project.

This day demonstrated the realization of a crucial milestone of health care delivery at the community level by the district health team, the nurses, The Togolese Association for Family Well-Being (ATBEF), an NGO, and the local government.

Katy Doyle is a Project Support Associate for MSH.