The purpose of Peace Corps Madagascar’s health project is to support global and national efforts to ensure that all Malagasy have long and healthy lives by strengthening basic primary health care knowledge and practices in rural areas of Madagascar.
Madagascar is a beautiful tropical island, hosting more than 10% of the World’s biodiversity with untouched but endangered rain-forests. While serving as a Community Health Advisor, you will work alongside implementing community partners to facilitate health education and community outreach, as well as prevention and training programs. Implementing community partners may be local health professionals, Community Health Workers and mothers.
Most often you will use health behavior change approaches and tools to design activities for women, mothers, caregivers, men and heads of households using proven effective approaches such as Care Groups. Dissemination of health messages may also take place in village forums, theaters, festivals, schools or youth clubs; and through one-on-one mentoring, door-to-door visits or during informal social interactions. You may also have the opportunity to bring training opportunities to community health workers, building their professional capacity and increasing their effectiveness.
Peace Corps Community Health Advisors act as catalysts on a wide range of activities aligned with government and community priorities that seek to impact maternal and child health, nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and Malaria prevention and control. The primary focus is maternal and child health, and working with pregnant women and mothers of children under 5. Therefore, your main role will be that of an educator, a facilitator, a liaison, a mentor, and a resource to assist your community.
Your work may focus on:
• Behavior Change through the use of evidence-based methodologies (e.g. Care Group model, which you will receive an intensive training on during In-Service Training)
• Maternal Health: working with Care Group mothers to encourage at least the four antenatal care visits (ANC) for safe pregnancies
• Child Health: working with Care Group mothers and training in essential nutrition actions and preparation of hygienic and nutritious food
• Disease Prevention: working with Care Group to improve infant and young child health through prevention of childhood illnesses (e.g. respiratory infections); and malaria prevention and control
• WASH Programs: working with community members and through school partnerships to reduce water-borne illnesses. Activities may include education on essential hygiene practices; building hand-washing stations; latrine use and maintenance; etc.
• Youth Health: Promoting healthy living, positive youth development, and reproductive health through clubs, camps, and/or in-school programs.
Community Health Advisers are also expected to work with community members to develop secondary projects such as promoting sports for girls, improving community facilities, malaria prevention, etc. And while much of the work will take place during weekday daytime hours, some community activities may take place on weekends. Many Volunteers also work with their village officials to prepare large community-wide awareness events around International Malaria Day, Global Handwashing Day, etc.
Peace Corps Madagascar promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in Madagascar and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.
Health coverage, Housing, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Stipend, Training
Subject to criminal background check