Strengthening Health through Community Participation: Curamericas Global Visits Kibera February 5, 2015 by Nick Johnson
[Note: a version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 edition of Grassroots, Curamericas Global’s print newsletter. You can find a link to that newsletter here.]
For the past two years, Carolina for Kibera has partnered with Curamericas Global and Ronald McDonald House Charities to reduce child mortality from preventable diarrheal disease by creating a health system that is managed and owned by the community. Over these two years, Curamericas Global has provided technical assistance in the form of training and capacity-building for staff through the Community-Based Impact-Oriented (CBIO) and Care Groups (CG) methodology for community-based healthcare.
In September, Program Manager Florence Amadi facilitated several Train-the-Trainer sessions on the Care Group approach for 9 Community Health Workers and Program Managers that work with CFK. Florence’s trip moved her in many ways. “Many who participated in the training grew up and still reside in Kibera. Although I did not get to hear from every health worker about their life experiences, their smiles showed stories of hope and not despair, stories of how they would like to make Kibera a better place, and a resounding ‘can happen’ attitude! For the kids that played and laughed along the many walkways, this is home.
“My one week of interaction with the participants and community members was nothing less than enjoyable and inspiring!” says Amadi, reflecting on her trip. “I was repeatedly impressed by the cohesiveness and resilience portrayed by the community.” While Amadi was in Kibera, she had the chance to visit many favorite CFK sites, including the Tabitha Medical Clinic. When she asked Interim Executive Director and CFK co-founder, Salim Mohamed, how the building material arrived at the building site of the clinic, he answered, “A brick at a time!” Without an accessible road, reflects Amadi, “the people of Kibera carried each brick and piece of material with their hands and heads through the treacherous terrain!”
Enthusiastic to implement the Care Group approach, Amadi felt that the CFK team’s commitment renewed her conviction of the importance and effectiveness of community-based healthcare. Yunus Mohamed, Project Officer for Community Outreach, also reflected this sentiment, saying, “Change is best achieved when driven by those affected. Community involvement and participation are the fulcrum of a strong healthcare system.”
Thank you to Florence Amadi for her service, and to Curamericas Global for this fantastic partnership!