USAID Administrator Shah Notes Community Engagement on Visit to MSH Project in Southern Sudan
In a May 7, 2010, address to the Lologo community—following a tour of the MSH-supported Lologo Public Health Care Centre (PHCC) in Southern Sudan—Dr. Rajiv Shah, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) stated that USAID is interested in supporting initiatives like Lologo where the community is constantly engaged with the health center and the general welfare of its members.
Despite being a public holiday, the entire 20-member village Governing Body—the leadership council—of Lologo, as well as over 200 men, women, and children from the Lologo community had arrived to receive Dr. Shah.
Before his speech, Dr. Shah spent about 80 minutes touring the Lologo PHCC, meeting the staff and asking questions about services delivered, availability of medicines, training of midwives and health workers, numbers of clients served, among others.
Located in an outlying area of Juba that was once an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp, Lologo PHCC is one of 12 health facilities in Juba County supported by MSH’s USAID-funded Sudan Health Transformation Project—Phase II (SHTP II) and is notable for having been initiated and built by the community in 2001. The facility serves the entire population of Lologo—35,000 squatters, IDPs, and returnees. Lologo is the largest area of Southern Sudan inhabited by displaced people.
In the month of May alone, the Lologo PHCC served 1,700 people, a result of deep engagement by the Lologo community to improve the health of its members.
It is the Village Health Committee—whose members are selected by the community— that is ensuring community participation. Acting as custodian of the agreement between the Ministry of Health and the local implementing partners on the one hand, and the community on the other hand, the committee is facilitating and encouraging community-based health development initiatives, such as the distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated bednets (LLITNs), immunization outreach, and antenatal care, among others. They are also identifying community members to be trained as community midwives, home health promoters, and distributors of health commodities. Most important, the committee is empowered to monitor service delivery to ensure that children, pregnant women, and other vulnerable groups receive a basic package of health and nutrition services.
MSH is partnering with local organizations using performance-based contracts to deliver interventions at the Lologo PHCC—and more than 200 other sites across the 10 states of Southern Sudan—in child health, nutrition, prevention of malaria, maternal health, family planning—including healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, HIV & AIDS awareness, and soon will be supporting prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The visit to Lologo was part of Dr. Shah’s first tour of Africa as USAID Administrator.