Project 21 began as a concept and pilot program, developed by Marci Andersen during her year as a volunteer at the Béré Adventist hospital public health department. After three months of assessing, planning, and working to understand the people of Béré at the end of 2011, Marci began her implementation of the project in January of 2012. It started with lecturing basic, yet vital, life saving information that could be incorporated into everyday life.
These community health lectures were done in all 21 quarters or neighborhoods of the Béré district by way of working with the local dignitaries. Topics ranged from maternal and child health to natural remedies and major diseases. Since many locals see the hospital as a building rather than as a resource, these lectures informed the community of the many free and/or inexpensive services offered at the hospital. As of 2012, Chad had the lowest life expectancy at birth world wide. These lectures encouraged simple, life save practices such as delivering babies at the hospital, breast feeding, hiv/aids testing, TB treatment, and malnutrition prevention.
The Chadian people were very appreciative of this information and many saw the value in what was being taught. Marci then moved into the second part of her pilot program: training community members to be liaisons for the hospital. This consisted of nearly 100 people to be trained as Community Health Workers and Traditional Birth Attendants. These liaisons are there to encourage community members to use the hospital, take basic health assessments, and in case of an emergency, they are the ones to deliver treatment or stabilize a patient until the ambulance arrives. This system has provided many patients with the life saving care they needed at the time.
With the community health worker and traditional birth attendant system in place, the hospital can better assist its patrons. The hospital is no longer restricted to its compound. Now the hospital has community members taking the initiative to help their own neighbors. Even though Marci’s time in Chad ended a year ago, the system has persisted to benefit the hospital and the community.
Now, Charis McLarty and Zachary Gately are implementing Phase 2 of the project. They are working to create a second level of both Community Health Workers and Traditional Birth Attendents. They are also involved in continuing the community health lectures, nutrition classes, malnutrition, women’s development, and so much more. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact the project.
Phone: +235 9112-2492