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SCORECARD TRAINING RESHAPES HEALTH BEHAVIORS IN PHALOMBE'S COMMUNITIES

Moses Kathumba, hailing from Sakhome village at Traditional Authority Mkhumba in Phalombe district, attests to the transformative impact of scorecard training under the COVID-19 Response Mechanism project by the Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) in his community. Following the scorecard training, Kathumba highlights that the trained team acquired valuable skills in recognizing challenges faced by both service providers and health service recipients in the Traditional Authority Mkhumba community.


Kathumba notes, "Some of the problems that were identified after attending the scorecard training by CRECCOM were that many people under TA Khumba were not availing themselves for screening or testing services on TB, HIV/AIDS, and even COVID-19 in their respective health facilities."



Fear and misconceptions were significant barriers to healthcare access, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kathumba points out, "Others stopped going to receive their medication. They had a fear that they would be tested for COVID-19." 


Additionally, the community observed that HIV/AIDS and TB symptoms were often misunderstood as signs of COVID-19, further deterring people from seeking healthcare.

In response to these challenges, the trained team devised a collective solution – conducting awareness campaigns to differentiate between diseases and empower community members to visit health facilities.


Kathumba notes, "This assisted a lot of people who used to detest the act of going to the health facilities in their areas during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic."


The awareness campaigns resulted in a positive shift, with more people seeking healthcare in their respective health facilities. Kathumba proudly states, "This also assisted these health facilities to be able to register TB, COVID-19, malaria, and HIV patients."


Abdullah Sitolo, the chairperson for the interfaith church, emphasizes the role of scorecard in addressing health problems and improving collaboration between community members and healthcare providers.


"People used to buy medicines for TB and malaria in groceries around their communities rather than in their nearest health facilities. After we received the training on scorecard, we were able to reach out to people in TA Mkhumba community with messages on the importance of taking medications in their nearest health centers."



Scorecard also unveiled challenges in health facility infrastructure, such as the lack of privacy for HIV/AIDS patients.


Sitolo highlights, "People living with HIV/AIDS were receiving their ARVs in the same room with those with TB which denied access to achieving confidentiality or privacy of these patients." 


However, after the scorecard activity, health facilities established new private rooms, providing separate spaces for different treatments and ensuring patient privacy.

Sitolo added that the scorecard training implemented by CRECCOM under COVID-19 Response Mechanism project in Phalombe district has emerged as a powerful tool for community empowerment, bridging gaps in healthcare access, and fostering collaboration between service providers and recipients.

 

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