Since answering the call in 2014 from the Kano State Polio Emergency Operations Center (EOC), eHealth Africa (eHA) is a regular partner for driving Health Camp support for Immunization Plus Days (IPDs, which take place in Kano State’s 44 Local Government Areas (LGAs). As part of the National Polio Eradication Program in Nigeria, eHA is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
What are Health Camps?
Health Camps were created and incorporated into IPDs with the goal of incentivizing community members to receive polio vaccinations for their children, aged 0-5 years. The incentive was created by providing free medicines through health camp boxes, as well as free consultations with a community health worker. If the consultation results in a health need that goes beyond the scope of the health box, the patient is referred to a hospital for needed treatment.
Health Camp workers are a valuable and sustainable resource for Nigeria’s health infrastructure. Having properly trained clinicians and assistant clinicians working in close partnership with local health workers contributes substantially to obtaining more practical, effective, and culturally relevant health care delivery systems at a community level.
Enhanced Health Camp Training
Because of the importance of the health care worker in the efficiency of Health Camps for their local communities, eHA is designing the Enhanced Health Camp Training as an intensive and engaging learning environment to increase the skills and teamwork of health workers. The target audience of the training program will include Local Government Immunization Officers, Essential Drug Officers, and community health workers (clinicians and assistant clinicians).
eHA's community health trainers will facilitate the training, alongside Kano state’s EOC partners. This new enhanced training will be implemented in a series of graduated steps that, when completed will instill confidence and ensure a smooth performance of the health camp workers.
The Training Curriculum
To create the Enhanced Health Camp Training, eHA staff will begin by identifying the health needs, priorities, and resources from the Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board, other partner organizations, and communities themselves. These requirements will then be translated into a curriculum which will be used by trainers, and will create an evaluation process measuring the outcome of the training.
The training program is anticipated to be conducted once, before the March IPD round, to last four days: one day for hand-off training of curriculum for trainers themselves, one day for training at the state level, and a two-day LGA level training during the 2016 IPD months.
An important goal in creating this training is ensuring it covers the comprehensive needs of the EOC. That is why EOC leadership will play a crucial role in spearheading the training and direct it toward solving local needs at the EOCs.
The expectation on data following the training is that the quality of Health Camp data will increase. This increase in quality should go hand in hand with a reduction in human factor data errors, reducing the rate of data cleaning required per round.
Enhanced Training for Better Results
Expanding the knowledge and skills of Health Camp workers to assume more responsible roles in primary health care programs is a productive and rewarding experience for the trainees, for other health professionals, and for community members. Most Health Camp workers have many years of experience tending to family members health problems. They are dedicated to serving their patients and are eager to expand their skills in providing better healthcare to communities. The Enhanced Health Camp Training will build upon the wealth of knowledge and experience staff already possess.
The training will also help facilitate the expanded scope of eHA, and initiate direct contact with Health Camp workers in all LGAs, providing a tool to give regular field feedback. Enhancing the role of these practitioners and promoting closer collaboration between them and medical community offers new hope for improving the overall health of individuals and families through sustainable primary health care programs in Africa.