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Health Promotion

There are two programmes under Community Development Services Agency (COMDESA). One is Health Promotion and the other is support to Kintampo Municipal Area Women Development Association (KinMAWDA). The Health Promotion Programme has been established to address disease-related drivers of human wellbeing. (1) Increasing population growth and urbanisation has caused generation and accumulation of solid waste in Municipal, District Capital and developing townships. In 2008, Ghana was reported as second dirtiest country in West Africa and fourth dirtiest in Africa (Statesman Newspaper, 07/08/08). This poses severe health risks to children as in the picture.

COMWELF recognises that keeping homes and neighbourhoods clean depend on attitudinal changes, so this project focuses on behaviour, and proposes to increase peoples’ knowledge of solid waste as valuable resources. It uses participatory tools to influence attitudes and behavioural to promote clean, hygienic homes and neighbourhoods. (2)  HIV/AIDS & TB prevalence is increasing in most places, especially transit towns and border communities. In Kintampo the percentage of people living with TB is 40%, while people living with HIV/AIDS are 16%, which are both much higher than the national averages. (3) A group of endemic diseases known collectively termed “Neglected Tropical Diseases” continue to pose severe health problems in Ghana.  The diseases targeted include malaria, bilharzias, river blindness, trachoma, and intestinal worms. (4) Due to dominance of traditional and cultural practices, women continue to lack the confidence to contribute their full potential to local and national development. Their roles in contributing to the realisation of the MDGs in the rural and developing townships are uncertain. COMWELF, after four decades of working with women’s groups has devised an innovative strategy of building capacity to take centre stage in the local development agenda. In communities in which women are separated as in the picture, there is need to advocate to break barriers to effective participation.

Programme Goals and Objectives

The goal is to build capacity of local residents, especially women and children, in rural and urban communities to adopt and live healthy lifestyles and to contribute towards the achievements of the ‘health components’ of the MDGs (3, 4,5 & 6). COMDESA supports District Assemblies and other local stakeholders to understand the local context of the MDGs and facilitates participatory processes to achieve the targets of MDGs at local and district levels in Ghana. The specific objectives include: (1) Promoting clean and healthy households and neighbourhoods; (2) Supporting district-structures to eradicate/eliminate infection and spread of common diseases; (3) Promoting gender equity and empowering women to take leadership roles in local development as in the focus group discussion in the picture. This objective is described under KinMAWDA.

Promoting Clean Environment

COMWELF has developed the Participatory Environmental Education and Communication Approach (PEECA) create awareness about the economic value of solid waste and how to benefit from business opportunities associated with sustainable solid waste management. The PEECA conceptual framework links environmental policy, livelihoods and behaviour and show how governance, peoples’ needs and attitudes are interdependent. Knowledge of such interdependence is crucial in enhancing convenience, comfort, good image and time/resource savings, the factors which increase positive human behaviours. Attitudinal changes will be achieved by using tools developed for the participatory environmental education and communication approach (PEECA). Few people know the economic values and business opportunities of solid waste resources; the project empowers more people to know and utilise solid waste resources to increase urban economic growth.

Supporting district health structures

Working with local partners, COMWELF and KinMAWDA provide advisory services to create awareness about how the target diseases infect and spread among the population. We help people to understand the links between behaviour and lifestyles and increased risks and vulnerability to infection. KinMAWDA supports people living with the target diseases to form clubs, associations and networks to benefit from the increased social capital and capacity building to access funds, resources and training for sustainable income generating activities (SIGA) by applying for credit from the Financial Security Fund (FISEF). The fund also provide relief cash for orphans and widows to meet education and health care expenses, while they are being supported to access long term resources to sustain themselves. KinMAWDA also provides signposting for the clubs, associations and networks to visit specialised hospitals and health centres for screening and treatment of the diseases. Field staff and volunteers provide home care to ensure that patients complete treatment cycles and go for reviews. Advice is given for all people to register and benefit from subsidised treatment and health care under the National Health Insurance Scheme.



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