Health[e]­Community Rwanda

Community health workers providing health education in Rwanda

Context

The Umurinzi Ebola Vaccine Programme was launched to educate healthcare workers about the deadly Ebola disease; vaccinate the community against Ebola; and prevent the infection from spreading further. Within the Umurinzi project, Health[e]Foundation has been responsible for training community health workers (CHWs) with the Health[e]Community training program.

Program aim

The aims of the Health[e]Community Rwanda program are to increase the knowledge and improve the skills of community health workers by providing them with basic health education; conveying knowledge about infection prevention, including Ebola, COVID-19, Tuberculosis (TB), and viral Hepatitis; and by discussing topics related to sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) and rights with community members.

Community health worker training

Adapting to the pandemic: what started as a holistic Ebola preparedness program expanded into a COVID-19 containment program as well.

In February 2020, Health[e]Foundation and Rinda Ubuzima started face-to-face workshops in Western Rwanda to initiate the first round of training about Ebola prevention and other healthy living concepts. This series of workshops marked the start of the blended learning program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rest of the training was offered as an online-only program via our e-learning platform. A new course was added to the curriculum – Corona[e]Education. The first group of 135 in-charge community health workers has successfully completed the course with a completion rate of 89% (110/135). The training program continued in May 2021 with a second group of participants. Up until November 2021, 268 in-charge community health workers, who are linked to 228 health centers and district hospitals, received our blended Health[e]Community training.

Health education in communities

The Health[e]Community Rwanda program is based on a ‘train the trainers’ approach: each trained in-charge community health worker transfers their knowledge and skills to others by training ~30 fellow community health workers and key people in their district. Using this model, more than 8,000 community workers and key people received education based on the Health[e]Community training program. The second group of trained community workers, in turn, put their acquired knowledge and skills into practice, while simultaneously communicating accurate health information and education to community members. Using this model, tens of thousands community members were able to provide health education to their community.

Key results

Clinics / health centers
228 health clinics / district hospitals strengthened

Community workers
268 community health workers trained with blended learning

Knowledge transfer
8,000+ fellow community workers and key people trained by in charge community health workers

Community education 
10,000 to 100,000 community members reached with health education and information

Partners

The Health[e]Community training was developed and implemented as part of the Umurinzi Ebola Vaccine Immunization Program under the Ministry of Health Rwanda, as a partner of Rinda Ubuzima and Rwanda Biomedical Centre, with funding support from Johnson & Johnson’s Global Public Health division, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the Welcome Trust.

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