The Community Based Health First Aid (CBHFA) approach developed by International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and National Societies seeks to create healthy and resilient communities worldwide thus playing a vital part in the Federation Strategy 2020, Strategic Operational Framework (SOF) for Health 2015 and contributing to Millennium Development Goals of 4, 5, 6 and 7.

The approach empowers communities and their volunteers to take charge of their health through mobilizing them to address priority health needs by using simple tools adapted to local contexts. In line with this approach this project aims at contributing to healthier and more resilient communities in Central and Brong Ahafo Regions.

Community ownership and participation has been inculcated in community members to enable them take charge of their own health needs and come out with ways to addressing them. This will ensure continuity of the project even after there in no support from outside.

Ghana Red Cross Society has to train a total number of 100 (32 females, 68 males) community volunteers, 20 per community were trained on the CBHFA modules in 5 project communities. 17 (2 females, 15 males) GRCS staff were also trained as CBHFA facilitators across the country.

The project is however being supported by the Finnish Red Cross (FRC). The success of the CBHFA project from 2010 to 2012 enabled GRCS to scale up the project to new communities from 2013 to 2015 with continuous support from the FRC.

Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) has also been working in close collaboration with the District Assemblies and Ghana Health Service (GHS) at the district, regional and national levels.  We are also working in close collaboration with the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), the leading agency to give technical advice on the construction of household toilets.

The two target districts have inadequate water supply, few health facilities, even though there is a district hospital, they are located in the district capitals which are not accessible to the remote communities due to the poor road network. Approximately, project communities are 30-40 kilometers away from the district capitals with poor road network.  Sanitation facilities are not available in these communities and the people practice open defecating which pose public health hazards. These communities are prone to epidemics such as cholera, diarrhea and other infectious diseases such as measles and woofing cough which occur at least once every year.

Agona East District with its capital at Agona Nsaba is one of the twenty districts in the Central Region of Ghana. The total district population in 2012 was estimated to be 91,330. The total regional population is estimated at 2,201,863 (2010 population census).

With a surface area of 39,558 km2, Brong Ahafo is the second largest region in Ghana with 22 administrative districts/municipalities. The 2010 Population and Housing Census estimated the region’s population at 2,282,128. The total district population of Atebubu-Amanten is 65,567 (2010 census provisional results).

Assessment conducted in May 2013, showed the health needs prioritized by the communities and confirmed during the community dialogues:

    Water and sanitation (software and hard ware)
    Malaria and river blindness
    Disasters (flooding, storms, fire outbreak  and cholera outbreak)
    First aid (epilepsy, burns, snake bites, and road accidents)
    Mother and child health (safe motherhood, teenage pregnancies)
    HIV and AIDS and stigma and discrimination.

Progress  towards  the  outcomes  has  been  made  as  the  capacities  of  100  community volunteers  have  been  built  to  support  the  implementation  of  CBHFA  activities.  The volunteers have already undergone the minimum required CBHFA training and have commenced fully the health promotion activities in their communities.

In one of the communities, the volunteers managed to mobilize the community to construct a pit latrine which they didn’t have. Before, they had a free range system where community members practice the open defecation system but after the Phase I training the volunteers underwent, they saw the need to construct one. Currently 96 out of the 100 volunteers have fully registered as Red Cross members.