Blue Ventures has signed a partnership agreement with USAID Mikolo to increase access to child health services for remote coastal communities in southwest Madagascar, as part of our integrated health-environment programme in the area. In a region where 1 in 13 children dies before their fifth birthday, this new collaboration is a critical step for advancing community-based management of preventable illnesses, including diarrhoea and malaria. Not only is it set to improve child health outcomes, but it is also likely to increase demand for voluntary family planning services as couples become more able to ensure the good health of their children and more familiar with the services offered by community health volunteers.
USAID Mikolo is a five-year project implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and its local partners, covering 8 regions of Madagascar and targeting communities more than five kilometres from a public health centre, with the aim of improving access to community-based health services and promoting the adoption of healthy behaviours. Under our partnership agreement, USAID Mikolo staff and local partner ASOS Sud recently provided training in the management of childhood illnesses to more than 30 community health volunteers already active and supported by Blue Ventures around the Velondriake locally managed marine area. Next steps of the collaboration include working together to produce community outreach materials linking health and environmental topics, and harmonising mobile reporting systems for service delivery in line with the Ministry of Public Health’s requirements.
This partnership is one of many cross-sector collaborations in development throughout Madagascar, all with a common goal of improving human and ecosystem health. Blue Ventures and USAID Mikolo are both members of the Madagascar Population-Health-Environment (PHE) Network, and connected through a national PHE workshop held in the capital city of Antananarivo earlier this year.