CHCs starting in Umzimkhulu

15th January, 2008. Getting Going at Last

This week marks the culmination of almost a year’s efforts by Africa AHEAD and DWAF, to start up CHCs in the lovely foothills of the Drakensburg Mountains, one hour south of Durban in Umzimkhulu Municipality, Sisonke District, Kwa Zulu Natal.

The concept was introduced to the Municipality and at a full Council meeting a formal a request was made to Africa AHEAD and DWAF to go ahead with the project throughout Umzimkhulu. Councilors in all 20 Wards were given the chance to submit an application to start CHCs in their ward and to nominate a facilitator to train their community. A steering committee, comprising of a representative of all the stakeholders, has been formed to ensure sustainability of the project beyond the initial implemenation phase which is funded by Danida for the next six months. It is expected that the various gocernment departments will then contribute towards the community initiatives expected to arise from the health promotion phase. This should include upgrading and management of water and sanitation facilities as well as income generating projects related to agriculture and eco-tourism. Ten wards have already made applications and nominated their facilitators, which were then endorced by the steering committeeto ensure complete transparency.  This was an important few months as a strong foundation for this project has now been laid by ensuring the full backing of  Umzimkhulu Municipality.

On this foundation the process has now begun to build up the community through the establishment of health clubs in each ward. A three day training has just been held for training in Module 2: How to start Community Health Clubs. All ten facilitators as well as representatives from DWAF, Health and Social Services completed the training with flying colours and were given their certificates. Attending the certification ceremony were representatives from the Municipality. Mrs Vuyisa Madu, Portfolio Head for Community and Social Services, and Councilor for Ward 17 volunteered a response to what she had seen of the training… a rough translation of her Zulu words, went something like this…

I have not been asked to speak but I have been so moved by what I have seen, that I have to say something from my heart. I just cant believe that people from the community can now express themselves so well after this short training. It is only in ten wards at present but we must make sure that this project is taken into all twenty wards in Umzimkhulu.’

Her enthusiasm was encouraging as she was referring merely to the training facilitators from the community, who she felt had been well equipped to return to their village and mobilise effectively. We are hoping she will be even more impressed when the facilitators start their health promotion sessions within their communities. Well done to the Africa AHEAD facilitators, Jason Rosenfeld and Moses Mncwabe for making the training such an effective start up.

Participants at the 1st Umzimkhulu CHC training workshop 14th January 2009
Participants at the 1st Umzimkhulu CHC training workshop, Kwa Zulu Natal. 14th January 2009