In remote villages – where resources are limited and local people rely on traditional medicine – ‘health literacy’ arms people with information to prevent disease, make healthy choices and improve their quality of life.
We use microscopes and other tools to teach communities about germs, water and sanitation, and the advantages of mosquito nets. The basics of western medicine are shared using local language, in ways that everyone can engage with, and enjoy.
For the last few years, Positive Aid has supported a Health Literacy program in Uranga. It has been a small but important part of our health project there, and we have trained more than 1,000 ‘Ambassadors’ to share vital information with their communities. Alice Mitchell, Vice President of Positive Aid with a PhD in public health, and has led the training of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and the overall design of the microscopy sessions. When in Kenya recently, she had the opportunity to build on the program, by refreshing all of our CHWs on the use of microscopes and doing more intensive training with several key workers who are responsible for facilitating the sessions. She also delivered and set up a new microscope, as we are putting things in place to expand the health literacy program to Boro division, to bring insight and information to people there.
Through advocacy outreaches and microscopy sessions, the faces of young and old alike brighten as they learn the basics that can change their lives. And every day more and more people are building latrines, hand-washing facilities and implementing mozzie nets to prevent malaria – life saving measures in poor rural villages prone to a host of preventable diseases.