I’m writing this month’s healthcare blog while observing the initial Home Visit Strategy Field Officer training for Kehancha and Isibania Divisions. Our classroom at the Nuru Regional Training Center is at capacity and the bare walls are quickly being covered with flip chart paper displaying lessons about behavior change, health information, communication strategies, and much more. This is truly an exciting time for the Healthcare Program.
The Healthcare managers are doing an incredible job leading this training. Last week, I was sick and out of the office during an especially trying time for the team. There was potential for activities to wane in effectiveness and efficiency, but the team stepped up and managed all aspects of the training professionally and admirably.
Our Training Manager, Robert Ndiritu, is a wonderful facilitator and it is great to see how the trainees participate, respond and learn as a result of his interactive and informative training style. Some of the other Nuru program staff who are in the process of hiring their own training managers have been spying on our training to get some tips! Robert is also actively mentoring the local Field Managers, who are greatly benefiting from his experience and example. For instance our Mabera Field Manager, Juma Marwa, independently met with Robert at 6 a.m. to discuss and review the training content for the day ahead.
The Field Officers in training are visibly motivated and enthusiastic to learn. Even during inevitable post-lunch energy lull, the Field Officers remain active, and debate new topics energetically. Of course, there have been some challenges, particularly in relation to dispelling common myths about diseases such as pneumonia and malaria. However, trainers have remained patient, encouraging and firm as they work to train on the facts that will save lives.
Feedback from the participants has been positive and constructive. The team attributes this openness to the Nuru Leadership training, which the Field Officers have already attended. This is a great testament to the value of working within an integrated program framework. I am confident that we are going to have some incredible Field Officers coming out of this training, which in turn will benefit the wider Nuru community.
Nine of the participants are boarding at the Regional Training Center for the 2.5 week training. As we are the first Nuru program to utilize the boarding facilities, their patience has been appreciated while facing a few hospitality issues. Becky Okinda, our District Manager, has been managing and troubleshooting these issues independently and going above and beyond to ensure a comfortable stay. This is another great example of local leadership and ownership of the program. I am truly humbled by the dedication, professionalism and attention to detail that I have observed from the healthcare team. As an aside, the boarding facilities have been a great investment by Nuru as they enable participants to stay on site instead of traveling long distances, while also helping the programs to cut transport costs.
While the Home Visit Strategy Team has been partaking in training, the Social Marketing Team is busy collaborating with the Research and Development team for the latrine sales campaign. This campaign will focus on marketing a permanent latrine that is safe, durable and affordable.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Field Officers who will be visiting households after this training will have the ability to save lives through simple training and tailored interventions. I look forward to sharing more stories about these home visits in future blog posts. Next up, the training continues on the topic of newborn health and immunization!