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FROM VISION TO ACTION by Health Communication Capacity Collaborative on Exposure
A lack of running water. Leaking roofs. A dearth of essential drugs and basic vaccines. It’s no wonder in communities throughout Sierra Leone, many people do not think of the local health facility as the first place to go for routine health care or for issues like illness or giving birth. In turn, nurses and doctors are frustrated that community members do not visit health facilities regularly, making it more challenging for them to spread the word about potential health risks, preventative measures and healthy behaviors. The good news is that change is afoot. Communities across the country have been meeting – including health providers – to discuss how they can address the health issues in their community and build a bridge between the community and the facility. These dialogues are the first step in a series of activities involving the entire community to improve the quality of health care facilities and services. Led by the USAID-funded Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) program in Sierra Leone, 75 communities throughout Northern Province and Western Area have been participating in community engagement activities that culminate with a facility “makeover.” Recently, people in Roruks and Leicester and many other communities have met to discuss addressing these issues in their community and build a bridge between the community and the facility.