Over the last two weeks, C2C’s Community Health Workers (or CHWs) have been visiting their Camp Coq neighbors, sharing news of the clinic opening, talking through the services that will soon be available, answering questions about the clinic opening later this month, and receiving valuable feedback from the community. Each CHW visits an average of 20 households per day, often gathering a crowd of interested neighbors. These three women have visited more than 500 homes already, and will continue reaching out to the community in advance of the clinic opening.
CHWs have a very important job: they serve as “ambassadors” to the community of Camp Coq. All long-time residents of the town, our CHWs are attuned to the health needs and concerns of fellow community members and they are well-positioned to provide advice and counsel, as well as to screen for early warnings of health risks. Soon, the CHWs will be educating the community on important health topics from clean water and nutrition to safe pregnancy and sexual health.
However, before the clinic opens for business, the CHWs have a unique and important role: they are educating community members about the new services that will soon be available. We call this process “social marketing,” because it is a patient-centered, supportive form of information sharing. The CHWs carry information both ways – talking through the clinic offerings with families and also sharing the unique needs of families with clinical staff.
Because the C2C clinic will be the first full-service, high-quality health facility in the community, people have questions about how the clinic will run: What can services can they expect at the clinic? How much will services cost? How can the clinic help when their children are sick? In the course of their social marketing duties, CHWs visit households and have the opportunity to discuss these questions with families, while at the same time encouraging healthy behaviors and habits.
CHWs have been trained to carry out this social marketing role for the next 6 weeks, traveling from household to household, encouraging dialogue, answering questions, and preparing the community for the exciting changes that are coming soon!