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Project Background

The Australian Himalayan Foundation works in partnership with the people of the Himalaya to help the most disadvantaged meet their priority needs through integrated improvements in education, health and the environment.

The Solukhumbu Women’s Health Project’s main target group will be women of reproductive age. Rural Nepali households depend on women’s dynamic roles for daily livelihood. With significant migration of the male and young population; women’s roles as mothers, wives, sisters, household heads, caretakers of elderly and children have been more prominent than before. In this situation, providing easier access to health services can be of great support for women to be able to fulfil these multiple roles successfully.

In addition, whilst significant progress has been made in the past few years, key targets of reproductive and sexual health still need to be met to reduce women’s mortality and ensure healthy lives. COVID-19 has reversed some of this progress and it is therefore essential that further work is prioritised. Due to their high vulnerability, women in remote areas and women with disabilities will be particularly targeted by the project, which aims to provide universal access to services.

Project Overview

The Solukhumbu Women’s Health Project (SWHP) prioritises women’s health, especially reproductive and sexual health, in the communities of Waku, Chheskam and Taksindo. The four year project commenced this year and is being implemented by AHF’s local partner Action for Nepal (AF Nepal). AHF and AF Nepal have worked together since 2017 to improve health outcomes in Solukhumbu and have a strong partnership.

Building on learnings from the previous health project in the region, this project was designed in close collaboration with AF Nepal and in consultation with local government, health stakeholders and the local communities, particularly women.

The project will create an enabling environment for improved women’s health outcomes in order to improve the sexual and reproductive health of women living in the remote communities of Solukhumbu.

More specifically, the project will ensure that overall the health services are better equipped by ensuring that:

  • they have all the necessary supplies, are properly staffed and managed, particularly in relation to sexual health and reproduction;
  • health staff and volunteers have greater capacity, skills and are able to be attend the health posts regularly; and
  • women, especially those living with disability or in really remote villages can access vital health services.

We'll know the project is successful by measuring increases in the numbers of institutional deliveries and deliveries conducted by a skilled birth attendant. In addition, meeting the minimum attendance rates for expecting mothers' antenatal care visits, attending at least three postnatal care check-ups for new mothers; and higher contraception prevalence will be indicators of further project success.

What’s Covered in Project Cost

The program costs cover:

  • Training for key stakeholders including district health representatives and the Health Facility Operations Management Committee;
  • Procuring and distributing vital medical equipment and supplies;
  • Conducting training for the health workers and Female Community Health Volunteers;
  • Conducting training on disability inclusion;
  • Funding related to project monitoring and evaluation and human resource management for capacity strengthening; and
  • Funding for COVID 19 Safety precautions and equipment including masks, hand sanitisers/handwashing and promotion of social distancing.

Partners & Community Involvement

The project is delivered by the AHF’s local partner AF Nepal in conjunction with the Local Government, the local Health Posts, the Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) and the local Health Facility Operation Management Committee (HFOMC) members for health facility management.

In the past, the services provided through the nurses in the health posts contributed to effective health service delivery and filled the staffing gap of those remote communities. The competence of FCHVs was improved after being trained by the nurses and they were able to organise mothers’ group meetings?easily.

Local mothers’ groups run by FCHV’s have an effective platform to provide knowledge to?mothers where mothers not only learn about, but practice healthy behaviours. Building capacity of FCHVs is an effective way to carry out health sessions to mothers’ groups, as it is also a long-term way to increase knowledge and change the health care seeking behavior of mothers.

The project will directly benefit over 2,600 females in the target reproductive age group in Waku, Chheskham and Taksindo; 18 Health post staff, 27 FCHVs and 21 HFOMC members. Across the three communities, 10,788 community members including 85 with disabilities, will indirectly benefit from the activities through the SKWHP project.

Additional Information about the Project

SWHP continues to deliver on the AHF’s long term goal of providing better opportunities in life for women, children and families in the remote Solukhumbu region in line with AHF’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan’s Goal 2: ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote children’s wellbeing’ and related outcomes:

  • Improve access to essential health care services and information, including sexual and reproductive health-care services, in selected districts of Nepal;
  • Improve maternal and child health;
  • Develop health facilities and strengthen capacity of local health services; and
  • Support recruitment, training and retention of the health workforce.

The project also aligns with AF Nepal’s Strategic Plan: Improving health outcomes and health services, with particular focus on improved maternal and child health.

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