HAS could not do the exhaustive work of providing healthcare in remote areas of the Artibonite without its network of 47 community health workers. Each community health worker at HAS is responsible for an area covering 1,000 households.
One of these CHWs, Marie Luta Prophète, has been working at HAS for 23 years. Currently, she serves the Deschapelles communities of Coupon I, Coupon II, and Moreau.
Marie Luta says her favorite parts of the job are doing nutritional surveillance of children under 5, administering vaccinations to children under 1 year old, and doing home visits with pregnant women to encourage them to have at least 4 prenatal appointments and 1 postnatal.
Fighting COVID-19 in the Community
In addition to providing preventative care and routine check-ups, CHWs are on the frontlines of mobilizing the community during outbreaks of disease. Although the CHWs needed to stay at home in the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak, they have been an integral part of educating the community about COVID-19 prevention. They are also working to fight the COVID-19 stigma in Haiti, which has made some people reluctant to admit they have symptoms and seek medical help.
Family Planning Campaign
In September, a 2-week family planning campaign kept Marie Luta and the other CHWs busy. Marie Luta would walk through the streets with a megaphone, mobilizing women between 15 and 49 years old and sexually active men to come learn about reproductive health and family planning methods. At meetings, she would identify new users, distribute contraceptives, and record data of the community activities.
Community mobilization focused on the importance of using contraceptives for the well-being of oneself, one’s family and one’s community.
Marie Luta says the benefits of the family planning campaigns are far-reaching. “When more people use a modern family planning method, there are fewer births, which means the incidence of malnutrition decreases, more children have access to school, the maternal and infant mortality rates decrease, and there are fewer cases of juvenile delinquency – it is a better society for all of us.”