By G.Haweria Berhane REST PR
Tigrai Online, September, 05, 2013
A group of American Senators lead by Milinda Gates landed in Tigray Regional State last week saw Relief Society of Tigray (REST) and government preventive health achievements. The United States top officials team came to observe the regional government’s rural health extension systems which have been supporting by REST technical as well as material assistance in partner with L10K paid one day visit at a place called Hakfen Tabia, Medebay Zana wereda about 42km far away from Axum, the historic place. The joint and triple endeavor that had born attractive triumph over chronic health issues really lures attention of the delegates.
Milinda (an American philanthropist and co-founder of the Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation) together with the senators were warmly welcomed in a traditional performance by residents when they arrived at the Tabia’s (Hakfen) health center. The team including four Senators (Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Richard Burr, Senator John Thune, Senator John Barroso, Senator Mike Johanns,) Milinda Gates and other 14 delegations able to witness what is happening in the ground regarding the health extension program taking in account the sixteen health extension program components to create model villages in parallel of the national health policy.
REST as core health agent of the government’s health service systems is supporting this current situation using different mechanisms like training of Women Development Army (WDA), family members, health experts and the like by conducting review meetings, preparing contextual guidelines, and providing other necessary material supports.
“We believe every person deserves the chance to live a healthy and productive health” motto of the Milinda and Bill Gates Foundation now started to implement in every Tigrayan household.
Letebirhane Gidey, 42, and mother of four is among those who are joining this expression. Her clean compound, dry latrine, dry and liquid disposals, separated animal barn, hand washing containers visited by the supreme delegates. She told me that “helped by translator, I told them that how I become successful. I observed in all of them smile faces and shining expressions. Everyone was too eager to see what I have done and to hear what I have said. After briefings forwarded, they said clamp for her.”
The 16 basic health extension program components that need to address by everyone are the environmental hygiene and sanitation category encompasses excreta disposal, solid and liquid waste disposals, water supply and safety measures, food hygiene and safety measures, healthy home and environment, control of effects and rodents. The second is that family health programs which including maternal and child health, family planning, immunization, nutrition and adolescent reproductive health. The third classification of the component is diseases prevention and control that merges activities such as prevention and control of HIV-AIDS, sexual transmitted infections, TB, prevention and control of malaria and first aid emergency measures. The last but not least is health education and communication program.
According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health there are about 38,000 women health extension workers all over the nation assigned to navigate every household to bring recommendable changes in the reduction of major killer and transmitted diseases so as to achieve all the aforementioned health extension program components. Here REST is the main actor to implement such kind of health tasks in partner with different NGOs at 46 Weredas.