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Community Education

The story of Mawah

Helping villagers in Mawah, Liberia recover from the trauma of Ebola

Bringing lifesaving skills into communities

Healthy communities|All-inclusive|Holistic support

Effective family and community health targets the entire population, including women, children, adolescents and male family members and its all-inclusive nature often makes it the first type of assistance offered to those affected by conflict or natural disasters.

Many of the most effective ways for people to stay healthy or protect their children from disease or malnutrition are simple changes in behaviour. For example, hand washing with soap is incredibly important in protecting people, particularly young children, from the spread of infectious diseases. A child with diarrhoeal disease can become dehydrated and malnourished and even die in a short period of time. Therefore teaching parents about hand washing is genuinely life-saving and is best delivered through community education. Similarly, breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a child’s life guarantees children the best start in life, particularly in low income countries. New mothers are far more likely to follow this advice if they hear it from a trusted family or community member. This is why we seek to root all of our community education efforts in pre-exisiting support networks which will last long after we have left.

Working with families and communities enables International Medical Corps to ensure a holistic approach to promoting health, preventing disease and ensuring that entire families can survive and thrive. It is an approach that creates more resilient communities, helping the affected families and communities benefit from direct health care services while at the same time developing healthy habits and practices that can endure a lifetime.

International Medical Corps works with the local government and community leaders to engage local residents to identify their own health priorities, their needs and gauge the available local resources. We help mobilise those resources and pass important health care skills into local hands through training, enabling communities to be better prepared to face adversity and be the first to respond effectively to an emergency.

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