ANC Attendance Boosted in Joe Town Community

In July 2018, The PHU at Malambay in Joe Town Community, Ward 378 in Western Area Rural District, which is also the central hub to 10 surrounding communities, was struggling to reach clients to access the clinic. Most pregnant women turned to traditional birth attendants and stopped attending general clinic days because it was easier to access traditional medicine.

Acting under the notion that traditional herbs hills faster, the health seeking behavior of people in Joe Town Community deteriorated and the uptake of traditional medicine increased.

In August, Health center staff and stakeholders in Joe Town made attempts to address the issue, but all engagements were unsuccessful because the problem was not approached properly.

In trying to validate citizens’ experiences of accessing state services in healthcare, Restless Development Youth Accountability Volunteers (YAVs), did evidence presentation in Joe Town Community in November 2018, bringing together service users and service providers, including; health center staff, Councilor community stakeholders, including persons with disability. Low ANC attendance was ranked as the most urgent issue that needs to be addressed.

In February 2019, SEND Sierra Leone Field Officer (Mary Kpukumu) worked with stakeholders in Joe Town Community and developed an action plan, which clearly shows problem, actions needed and persons responsible.

Community Action Plan Development 

Restless Development Youth Accountability Volunteers (YAVs), together with Community Leaders held engagement meetings and sensitized people in Joe Town Community on the importance of attending ANC, and further conducted a policy literacy session, which created an opportunity for stakeholders at ward level to increase awareness on services provided at the health center, and explained the effect of taking treatment from drug peddlers and Traditional Birth Attendants.

During this engagement, stakeholders instituted a by-law on local drug administration, to which traditional birth attendants and drug peddlers made commitments, in agreement to stop providing local treatments and start making referrals to help people access institutional healthcare.

In April 2019, the health staff at Malambay, Joe Town Community, Ward 378, reported an increment of 115 new ANC attendance, and in May 2019, they reported 139 new ANC attendance at the PHU. This level of attendance has not been seen the whole of 2018.

Increased ANC Attendance – PHU at Malambay in Joe Town Community

The SABI Youth Accountability Volunteers were very instrumental in facilitating these high numbers that we are seeing now; they engaged stakeholders and all the Traditional Birth Attendants and drug peddlers in the ward, to see the need for them to stop delivering pregnant women at home. They also engaged in massive community sensitization with women in most of the villages with the help of the village heads –  Ramatu Bangura, the in-charge at the Malambay PHU.

The SABI supported action plan was used as a working document to galvanize knowledge and energize persons responsible to take action.

We needed to take action to save the lives of pregnant women. Thanks to SABI for creating this platform. This platform enabled our health centre referral message to sink in. – DPO.

SABI was appreciated for motivating the community to act. People now see the benefits of visiting the health centre in Malambay, in Joe Town Community, Ward 378 in Western Area Rural District.