The purpose of the Peace Corps/Ghana Health project is to support national efforts to ensure that communities in Ghana lead healthier lives through improved health practices. In support of those efforts, Peace Corps Ghana has three goals under this project:
• Increase the knowledge and skills of community members to improve water, sanitation and hygiene practices and reduce diarrheal diseases;
• Increase the knowledge and skills of youth to improve their health and well-being through health and life skills education; and
• Increase the knowledge and skills of women and caregivers to adopt practices that contribute to healthy pregnancy, healthy newborns and children under 5.
Peace Corps Ghana has both semi-structured projects with international and local partners, as well as more traditional Peace Corps postings where individuals are expected to work exclusively in their community with relatively little structured support. Both settings provide exciting opportunities for Volunteers to promote positive behavioral changes in support of the three goals of the Health project. Action planning, implementation and capacity building form the foundation of the project’s mostly rural health outreach.
Many Volunteers conduct the following activities:
• Working with health care professionals at the Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS, a small health clinic) facility to:
o promote balanced nutrition among pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children under the age of five;
o provide malaria education to young people and influential community members
o assist with the organization of village-based immunization and baby-weighing sessions;
• Assisting your community to encourage better use of water and sanitation tools and promoting behavior change, and improving water and sanitation options, such as household latrines, rainwater harvest systems and soak away pits;
• Co-facilitating SHEP (School Health Education Program ) curriculum in the classroom for school-age youth that provides culturally appropriate comprehensive youth health information;
• Co-facilitating a series of home visits to households to promote essential practices that contribute to a healthy pregnancy, newborn and essential child health practices;
• Co-facilitating a series of pregnant mother group meetings to promote essential practices that contribute to a healthy pregnancy and newborn and child health
• Co-facilitating sessions with fathers or other family members to increase their knowledge of essential pregnancy and newborn practices and their importance in having a healthy pregnancy, newborn and child;
• Working with local groups to create or improve existing gardens providing increased sources of nutrition