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Improving Health Care Service at Awha

By:Ruth Abraham

which is named after the village where it is located in Adi Kuala subzone, was established in 2012 and has been functioning as the sole health care provider in the area for the last nine years. Awha is located in a very strategic location west of the town of Adi Kuala, where a considerable part of the subzone’s population resides, and the hospital serves patients from about 14 villages found in four administrative areas, including patients from Maimine Subzone.

The community hospital, which gives inpatient and outpatient services to people from across Adi Kuala subzone and Maimine subzone, has a maternal and child healthcare unit, pregnant waiting rooms, infant growth follow-up, prenatal and antenatal care, a vaccination center, a family planning center and a laboratory.

Mr. Tesfaselassie Berhane

Since TB is one of the most common diseases in the area, there is a center that is dedicated to TB tests, treatments, and follow-ups. The community hospital campaigns the people to work on environmental control and sanitation to combat diseases. This has drastically reduced cases of dysentery. The hospital provides pharmaceutical services in its capacity and refers patients to other hospitals in the area for further medicinal needs.

Before the establishment of Awha Community Hospital, people used to carry patients in critical conditions and pregnant women on a 4-5 hours walk to reach the nearest health center in Adi Kuala. The community hospital has made access to health care much easier and many lives are being saved under its care.

The hospital has an ambulance for all emergencies in the area. This has resulted to a much lower rate of deaths, especially maternal and child mortality, in the villages. The number of lives lost in the middle of delivery has come close to elimination because the women get quick and professional health care. Patients with complications who cannot be treated at the community hospital are referred to regional and national referral hospitals.

The community hospital is equipped to deal with the most common diseases such as upper respiratory problems, pneumonia, and skin diseases, such as ringworm. Moreover, Adi Kuala subzone is surrounded and crossed by many rivers which make it prone to malaria.

Malaria, in the past, was endemic in the area but is almost eliminated now through collective efforts. According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), malaria cases are very rare and there have been no recorded malaria-related deaths in the hospital for many years now. The hospital manager attributes this to the people’s awareness and adoption of the means of protection against the disease. Awareness is one of the key elements of bringing about change in the attitudes of a community and the community hospital has ongoing campaigns. This has brought the people close to the hospital and helps the health professionals earn trust among the people.

There are health agents in every village and awareness-raising campaigns and prevention instruments such as mosquito nets are provided to the people within the community hospital’s reach. The village health agents are well trained and equipped by the MoH to conduct campaigns and deliver first aid and diagnostic services to the people. The advantage of having village health agents is that they are trusted by the people since they have shared values and lifestyles. This makes health care delivery everywhere in the subzone easy. Generally, there are no threatening outbreaks in the area. People now are aware of all the symptoms of the common diseases and take necessary first aid measures until patients get to the community hospital.

Awha Community Hospital gives distance vaccination services. The health professionals at the hospital have established five distance vaccination centers to serve hard-to-reach areas of the subzone. Instead of having women and children travel all the way to the hospital, the health workers go to the villages and give vaccinations and other health services.

The community hospital gives additional but key awareness campaigns regarding sanitation. At the hospital, there are two large waiting rooms for pregnant women, whose number is said to be increasing as more women are choosing to deliver at hospitals instead of at home. Moreover, minor operation procedures such as circumcision are available in the hospital.

Mrs. Embeba Yemane, who has used the services of the waiting room, said that in her two-week stay at the hospital, she had gotten all the nutritional treatments and advice necessary by the health professionals. She added, “This is the fourth time I came here to get follow-up examinations and for delivery in the waiting rooms, which are improving and encouraging many women to come and get prenatal care.”

As Mr. Tesfaselassie Berhane, manager of the community hospital said, the people around the area are knowledgeable about all the health risks and prevention methods but do not always practice them. Good health care routines are usually adopted with practice and that is why the hospital engages in continuous campaigns of informing and mobilizing people to adopt good health practices and prevention methods.

There are 38 employees at Awha Community Hospital who serve patients with utmost professionalism and commitment. That is why they are able to do the jobs of 100 people, Mr. Tesfaselassie said.

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