Rural Communities in Nkhotakota have hailed the Foundation for Community and Capacity Development (FOCCAD) for reaching out to them with health services and other interventions. The organization is implementing a health program in Nkhotakota and Salima aimed at bridging the transport and logistics gap between health facilities and communities in hard to reach areas through outreach service delivery and emergency transport services.
Speaking at Chawawa Village in the area of Traditional Authority Kanyenda on Friday, one of the community members, Estery Samson hailed FOCCAD for the initiative, observing it was helping the community access health services. Samson said without the joint intervention by Nkhotakota District Health Office (DHO) and FOCCAD, people in the area would have been denied essential health services. “We don’t have a health centre nearby, and it’s expensive to go to Nkhunga health centre which is almost 17 Km away, so this initiative is helping us” she said, She however asked government to open a Health Unit in the area as a lasting solution to the problem, observing the outreach activities takes place only twice a month.
Concurring with Samson, Jeffrey Henderson from Chimbalame village, TA, Khosolo in Mzimba said a health facility was one of the priority needs of the community. “I came from Chimbalame village, TA Khosolo in Mzimba, the bordering district where there is no health facility nearby to get medical help. “Much as we appreciate the effort being made by Nkhotakota DHO and FOCCAD, the need for a health facility here cannot be overemphasized because these outreach activities are very difficult to sustain during the rainy season due to poor roads” he said. Nkhunga Health Centre facility in charge, Fanny Kabango said the health centre attends to an average of 300 patients per day. “We have a catchment population of over 52, 000 people with a total of eleven health workers which is not enough. “So our outreach programs help us reduce the number of patients who come to the health centre for medical attention” she said. She concurred with the community members on the need for a permanent health facility in the area, observing patients always needs urgent medical attention.
FOCCAD`s Health and Nutrition Officer, Jane Buka said her organization came up with the intervention in the area after noting the long distance patients from the area travel to access medical services. She said during the outreach, her organization in coordination with DHO provides general medical services to people of all ages and sexes, which include under five clinics, HIV/AIDs Testing, Family planning methods and cancer screening services among others.
FOCCAD is implementing the program with financial support from Seagal family Foundation, Elma Philanthropies and Vibrant Village Foundation.
By Stanley Nkhondoyachepa