The launch of the Health Program at TARA Outreach Centre

"We deeply believe that good health and sanitary living conditions are essential for a child's development"

On September 9th, with the aim to expand our child welfare resources, TARA launched a new Health Program to be developed with TARA Outreach Centre. Indeed, TARA Outreach Centre has worked with the community of Saidulajab since 2019, especially on their children's education, to enable them to develop the most powerful weapon against poverty. However, we sincerely believe that good health and sanitary living conditions are essential for a child's development. A fact attested by the World Health Organization states that- among the reasons that increase infant mortality are poor medical care and a lack of awareness of medical and health issues.

After two challenging years of dealing with COVID together, our ties with the community are stronger than ever: they’re aware that TOC is not just a safe space for their children but also for them, the parents. We continue to lend an ear to their requests and were pleasantly surprised when they expressed the need for assistance with health-related issues. Therefore, we conducted a survey among the households; three-fourths of them asked for health camps, and two-thirds wanted awareness campaigns on physical and mental health. They explained that they could not go to a good medical facility because of a lack of time and fear of the costs of diagnosis and treatment.

The team at TARA conducted a significant survey within the community between January and March 2022 to build an adapted program that meets their needs. A questionnaire of 82 questions was presented to 65 households representing 325 community members. The primary goals were to report on their concerns, their needs (on vaccination, nutrition, and feminine hygiene), and their level of information and awareness on relevant issues, and thus define the areas in which there would be a real need for intervention.

The questionnaire provided a broad picture of the health and medical situation in the neighborhood. Thus, 43% declared they fall ill frequently, which shows a solid propensity for illness which can be explained by neglected living conditions. For example, poor access to water and sanitation services can be dangerous: 68% of households surveyed use public water for drinking even though it is heavily polluted. On the other hand, 86% of households use communal toilets (4 toilets for a hundred people), which increases the spread of infections, especially among women and children.

Other issues represent a challenge regarding education: menstruation (with 18% of women using scraps of clothing during their periods) and sexual health (90% do not know about STIs). The challenge of nutrition is also significant; 40% of children don't eat 3 meals a day. This data allows us to better understand the health and living conditions of the households TARA works with and, thus, plan an effective program adapted to their needs and demands.

As mentioned, the program was launched in September 2022; over the next six months, medical visits for the children will be initiated, and monthly meetings shall be scheduled with parents to conduct medical and health follow-ups for each household. Using data from the report, beneficiaries from the community will attend sessions on health and hygiene information, health and nutrition, female hygiene, reproductive and sexual issues, STIs, and first aid training.

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Posted on 13 October 2022