As part of HC3’s Mano River Region effort, the HC3 project will help Ministry of Health partners to rebuild trust in the health services and increase use of health structures in Conakry, Basse Cote and Guinea Forestiere, the areas of the country hardest hit with Ebola. HC3’s takes three forms: promoting the Gold Star services in Guinea – a collection of 15 service sites where the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) Project has improved services; engaging communities and health facility staff to improve additional health service structures to encourage people to use health services again after the Ebola crisis; and finally building the capacity of the Ministry of Health (MOH) Health Promotion Unit (HPU) to conduct social and behavior change communication (SBCC) activities.
Demand Creation and Service Promotion at Gold Star sites
An essential component of the process is creating demand for these health services and promoting existing quality facilities. In collaboration with MCSP and the Ministry of Health, HC3 is revamping a quality brand—entitled “Etoile d’Or,” or Gold Star— promoted nationally and regionally through a mass-media campaign that includes radio, television, billboards and community events. The campaign aims to build confidence in as well as increase the use of health services. Since 2012, MCSP has identified and assisted health facilities to meet quality criteria for service through a months-long accreditation process. Once accredited, a health facility receives a “gold star,” which is prominently displayed both inside and outside the facility. Currently, 15 facilities across the country have already received a gold star and another 22 are undergoing the accreditation process.
By promoting the brand nationally, HC3 hopes to inspire non-Gold Star facilities to strive to achieve the same high-quality standards that Guineans desire and deserve. The Gold Star Quality Services promotion will encourage people to return to the life-saving health-care services that they stopped using during the time of Ebola.
HC3 is also working with local NGOS to increase the demand for health services through community health outreach activities. Hundreds of community health workers are being trained using the Bridges of Hope community toolkit to promote overall wellbeing and health habits at home.
Facilitated community dialogues are taking place at thirty-seven health facilities with health providers, elected officials, religious leaders, community leaders and women’s groups. HC3 encourages these discussions about the quality of services and perceptions of care. This community dialogue produces a list of desired changes to the services, and a Quality Team is identified to lead the process of improving the services. This dialogue is the first step of a quality improvement and promotion process that HC3 is leading to ensure that communities are activity involved in the quality improvement process. Once the list of desired changes has been validated by the community and health facility staff, the Quality Team recruits community volunteers, who work with a construction company to clean up and make-over the health facility. As part of the package of support to facilities, HC3 provides refresher training to improve providers’ interpersonal communication and counseling since provider attitudes are frequently listed on the list of challenges to be fixed.
Rehabilitation work is conducted in a way that patients can continue to utilize the facility. Repairs are made to ceilings, lights and benches while painters give rooms a clean fresh coat of paint and men and women from the community clean the grounds and the common areas of the facility. Together they assess progress, and push on until the rehab is completed. Health facility staff and communities have been very pleased by the transformation of the sites.
HC3 is working with the Health Promotion Unit (HPU) at the MOH to improve how they produce, organize and disseminate SBCC tools and materials. Streamlining these processes will enable better communication and collaboration within the MOH as well as among local and international NGO partners working in the health sector in Guinea.