HHA/REACH Ethiopia, an organisation based in Hawassa and REACHOUT partner, hosted a successful REACHOUT consortium partner meeting last week. REACHOUT colleagues came from LSTM (Miriam Taegtmeyer, Sally Theobald, Beth Hollihead and Olivia Tulloch); Pamoja Communications, UK; KIT, the Netherlands; LVCT Health, an NGO based in Kenya; REACH Trust, Malawi; University Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique and Eijkman Institute in Indonesia
REACHOUT is currently in its second year of its five year EC funded programme cycle. Let by LSTM, the programme “Reaching out and Linking in: Health systems and close to community services” focuses on strengthening the role of close to community services in different contexts. Activities at the Consortium meeting included presentations by all country partners on the focus and action of the quality improvement (action research) cycles they are undertaking to improve the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of close to community services and discussion about theories of change and indicators.
The programme included academic writing sessions and surgeries to progress REACHOUT papers for a forthcoming special issue of Human Resources for Health, with its deadline on the 6th of January, 2015. In addition capacity building activities in research analysis software (including NVivo and SPSS) were being held and the taking and ethics of photographs discussed.
The participants visited health centres and health posts which were staffed by all female Health Extension workers in nearby Shebidno where the Ethiopian REACHOUT quality improvement cycles are taking place. The field trip triggered lots of discussion and experience sharing about how close to community services operate in different contexts. Bedilu Bades, Director of the Zonal Health Bureau, closed the meeting saying that REACHOUT and the Ministry of Health work together with same agenda to ensure health services reach all the community.
The participants expressed their thanks to Daniel Datiko Gemechu, Aschenaki Zerihun and team for their excellent hosting of the Consortium meeting.