IPHE: Innovative Participatory Health Education Approach To Promote Health Of Hard-To-Reach Conflict Affected Women

Submited on: 24 Oct 2011 05:52:01 PM GMT
Published on: 24 Oct 2011 06:49:39 PM GMT

The women in South Sudan face an alarmingly low maternal health status. Many health education approaches and advocacy strategies have been used to promote women health in post conflict settings. Yet, most of these approaches had limited understanding of complexity of social institutions and cultures in which behavior is contextualized. On the other hand, it appears that health systems in post conflict settings do not understand the context, and if they do, this understanding was not useful in the planning for accessible maternal health care services that can reduce the maternal mortality in post conflict settings.


We designed and conducted an Innovative Participatory Health Education Project ‘IPHE’. In which 12 researchers, 2 employees of local NGOs, 10 local women from 10 villages, and 10 local theatrical band members in Renk County, worked together to identify the important issues related to women health in their community. They integrated the Women Health Learning Package ‘WHLP’ with community participation in developing context-friendly material and delivered it to a local community in Gieger Village in the form of pictograms, songs, and drama. 


A parallel training workshop was conducted on Reproductive Health Project Management. This training workshop targeted 10 senior health related decision makers of the Renk County with a primary goal of advocacy for maternal health. The secondary goals were to increase their knowledge, awareness and skills to help them developing, implementing, assessing, monitoring and evaluating health projects in the field of reproductive health in this post conflict setting.


They depended on the list of maternal health issues generated by the IPHE’s participants to develop two reproductive health project proposals. In the last day of the workshop, we brought them all together; the local people and senior officers; to discuss maternal health issues in their area. The senior officers presented their assignments (two reproductive health project proposals) in front of the IPHE’s participants who gave them feedback and comments.


At the end of this project the senior officers and IPHE’s participants’ understanding of maternal health issues in Renk County was enhanced. The learning and behavioral change happened during the process of developing and delivering of the educational materials. The local community understood, appreciated and enjoyed the delivered materials since they were tailored and conveyed by their local people. The senior officers said that this approach helped them to identify the maternal health issues through the lenses of their local people which will influence their decision making.


IPHE Approach engaged senior officers with community members and promoted their knowledge about maternal health issues. Involving local theatrical band members and employees from local women organization will help ensure the sustainability of this project.


This approach effectively advocated for maternal health, and engaged the community to help themselves to produce context-friendly educational material to promote women’s health in a post conflict setting.



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