“When I first heard about Village Health Volunteers (VHV), I had no idea what it was about until I got nominated to help out as a Volunteer in my community. Part of my role was to advise and help pregnant women, newborn babies, making household visits and talking about health matters. That made me understand what it means and what we can do to contribute to good health.”
-Annie Usikeni, aged 50, mother of 8 children from a community in South Malaita.
A previous World Vision Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) project funded by the Australian Government was established in communities in South Malaita, Temotu, Makira and Central province. It focused on promoting the Village Health Volunteers (VHV) technical working group and the Village Health Committees (VHC) and provide them with knowledge and skills through several pieces of training. Annie was one of the participants. Annie has a passion to help other women in her community. She became a VHV and was trained by World Vision to provide health advice and carry out household visits in her community and still, as of January 2019, continues her important work as a VHV even though the project had ended a year and a half ago.
"I don't get paid for taking up this VHV role but I do have passion to do this and I feel good helping pregnant women and children in my community and contribute towards building a healthy community and building my own relationship with community members - which in return I got paid with their love, respect and some help in return. I will also pass on the skills and knowledge I have learned to my children and continue helping pregnant women and children in my community," says Annie.
“We were trained to give advice to pregnant women and visit newborn babies in the community and do household visits to provide health advice,” says Annie.
She notes that her costs incurred as a VHV have also been partly covered through her involvement in a Savings Group, a group which was initialized by the previous World Vision Community Economic Development project. For example, her full costs incurred as a VHV have been covered through her Savings Group activities thus demonstrating the impact and importance to integrating such approaches which have allowed this VHV to support their own efforts financially in a sustainable manner. World Vision in the Solomon Islands continues to seek ways to integrate effectively to leverage and build on the work that has transpired previously in its targeted areas.
Rebecca, a VHV from her community in East Are’are, Malaita province is also carrying out the same VHV role through the current World Vision's Health Strengthening System project (HSSP). She conducts household visits to care for pregnant women and sometimes assists the nurses during referrals and child birth and share health related information to the community.
“With the help and support from the VHV, we manage to keep track of the health of pregnant women and newborn children in communities accessing the small clinic, ensuring mothers are up to date with antenatal and postnatal care. VHVs most of the time do referrals and carry out awareness in the community regarding health issues.” Says Caulton Iro, the Nursaid in East Are’are – Malaita Province.
The Health System Strengthening (HSS) Project focuses on strengthening the primary health care system through the support from Provincial and National Governments towards the VHV model. Primarily to equip health clinics and provide health care services that includes adequate water supply, toilet facilities and making sure communities contribute to improving the accountability and delivery of primary healthcare services and the necessary training for nurses and Village Health Volunteers to equip and conduct effective primary health care outreach intervention programs in communities including health, monitoring and referrals.
World Vision Health System Strengthening is implemented in Makira, South Malaita and Central Island Province and is supported by the Australian Government.