A Day in the Life of a Community Health Promoter

A Day in the Life of a Community Health Promoter

With a red bag over her shoulder and a smartphone in her hand, Esther Owino walks purposefully along the winding path leading to Lydia’s homestead. Lydia, a new mother who had delivered just a fortnight ago, awaits Esther’s arrival for her routine check-up as a Community Health Promoter (CHP), despite Esther having visited just the day prior. Esther mentions that she’s here to assess the health of both the mother and the newborn, particularly because Lydia mentioned the baby’s recent cough.

Lydia warmly welcomes Esther into her impeccably tidy home, but their conversation is soon interrupted by a sharp cry of the newborn from the adjacent room. Sensing the baby’s need, Lydia quickly notes that it’s feeding time. Esther proceeds to wash her hands meticulously with soap and water before handling the baby, stressing the importance of hygiene to prevent the transmission of harmful germs.

Taking on the role of both mentor and caregiver, Esther demonstrates to Lydia the proper technique for positioning the baby during breastfeeding, ensuring optimal comfort and safety for both mother and child. She even employs visual aids to enhance Lydia’s understanding.

Esther then logs into the eCHIS platform on her smartphone to record pertinent information about Lydia’s household, including the newborn, Shirleen, along with Lydia’s other children and her husband. She discusses important matters such as obtaining the baby’s birth certificate, initiating family planning for proper birth spacing, and reminds Lydia about her upcoming clinic appointments.

The simplicity and clarity of the questions on the eCHIS platform facilitate Esther’s translation into the local Dholuo language, ensuring effective communication. Esther sets a reminder for her next visit, guaranteeing timely follow-up care for Lydia and her family, before bidding her farewell and proceeding to her next household visit.

The next stop on Esther’s itinerary is Quinter Akinyi, a pregnant woman in her seventh month. Esther finds Quinter engaged in strenuous activity, grinding sugarcane in her store. Esther gently admonishes her, cautioning against heavy lifting during this critical stage of pregnancy to avoid potential complications. She educates Quinter about the warning signs of pregnancy-related complications, emphasizing the importance of seeking immediate medical attention if any arise.

After assessing Quinter’s well-being, Esther advises her to prepare a maternity bag with essentials for labor and delivery, including baby clothes and emergency funds for transportation to the hospital. Addressing Quinter’s concerns about family planning raised by her husband’s desire for a son, Esther emphasizes the importance of mutual decision-making and encourages Quinter to prioritize her health and well-being.

Esther offers guidance on maintaining a balanced diet to support the baby’s development and underscores the importance of sleeping under a treated mosquito net to prevent malaria, given their residence in a malaria-prone area. She advises Quinter to wear loose-fitting clothing to ensure the baby’s comfort and mobility. Lastly, Esther schedules a clinic visit for Quinter using the eCHIS app, ensuring continued monitoring and support.

Community Health Promoters like Esther play a vital role in promoting preventive care, maternal and child health, and overall well-being within their communities. Through regular household visits, they provide personalized care, education, and health promotion, contributing to improved health outcomes and empowering individuals and families.

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