Hope Through Health
Distributed healthcare clinics, run by trained community health workers, even in the absence of a well functioning national system, vastly improves child and maternal health.
Your birthplace should not determine quality of healthcare available
In Togo, over 5 million people – about 70% of the population – are unable to receive medical treatment. Ineffective healthcare systems and a lack of treatment options are significant barriers to care, specifically for women and children in need. Indeed, nearly one in ten children will not live to see his or her fifth birthday—a rate fifteen times higher than that of developed countries.
Hope Through Health is an international organisation working to close this gap by providing lifesaving healthcare services in northern Togo. They believe that everyone deserves access to high quality healthcare regardless of the latitude and longitude of their birthplace. By implementing a proactive approach that integrates community health workers with improved health clinics—a patient centred model combined with universal access—they have demonstrated a better standard of care is possible even in the most neglected communities. In this way, they have transformed how primary healthcare is delivered, saving the lives of thousands of women and children.
Justine Bakeda, a Community Health Worker with Hope Through Health, illustrates this model in action. Justine is trained to identify and treat childhood illness. When an infant in the community is sick with fever, Justine travels to meet with the family and determine what is wrong. She takes the baby’s temperature and does a finger prick test for malaria. If the test comes back positive, she measures out the appropriate dose of medicine and explains to the mother how to give it to her baby. She continues to provide follow up care in the days to come, monitoring her progress and referring the family to the health clinic for additional services. If the test is negative, she tries to determine an appropriate intervention and referral.
Justine explains, “As a Community Health Worker, I see daily the impact of having access to fast, quality healthcare. I am proud to be part of a solution that is improving my community. Children are no longer dying in large numbers, and mothers have hope that they will live through childbirth and be able to care for their children.”
Hope Through Health’s model proves that communities can transform the dynamics of healthcare delivery. Active community engagement not only leads to the delivery of more responsive healthcare services, but it also leads to a range of practical benefits, including decreased stigma, increased capacity and skills of local community members, greater patient engagement, increased information sharing, and higher staff motivation.