By Kirstin Krudwig, SC4CCM Program Manager
For the second year in a row, the REAL Awards honored health care workers around the globe. SC4CCM nominated a community health worker (CHW) in Rwanda that we have worked with over the past two years to ensure he has access to life saving medicines and supply chain skills to manage these products. I had the pleasure of meeting Pascal Kanyamahanga last summer and it was obvious how much he cares about the work he is doing in his community as well as serving as a mentor to other CHWs. Because of his enthusiasm and dedication to his role, it came as no surprise when he was selected as a REAL Award honoree.
As a cell coordinator, Pascal is responsible for his own work as a community case management (CCM) CHW as well as for supporting eighteen other CCM CHWs and nine maternal health CHWs. As a CHW, he is responsible for examining, diagnosing, and treating sick children that are brought to him. When distributing medication to a child, he will ensure the parent understands how to dispense the drugs at home. As a cell coordinator, his duties include visiting CHWs to check on their current medicine supply levels, submitting reports to the health center, and picking up and distributing medications to all the CHWs he oversees to ensure that everyone has supplies to treat sick children in their villages. When Pascal visits the CHWs in his cell, he uses an integrated supervision checklist which includes reminders to check for many aspects related to CCM service delivery, including supply chain tasks. This data can then be used when cell coordinators come together to monitor performance and problem solve to improve performance
When I met with Pascal last summer, I was really struck by his dedication. Pascal truly cares about his village and improving the lives of children at the community level. When a sick child is brought to him, he will treat the child right away unless there are danger signs and a situation he cannot treat in the community in which case he will send them to the health center. He follows-up with sick children in their homes two days after treating them to ensure that the medication he provided is working and that the child does not need further treatment. Pascal also cares about the CHWs that he works with and wants to help them increase their skills. He wants to ensure that all CHWs have the products needed to treat children in their village and will help coordinate sharing drugs between CHWs when quantities are low. He communicates regularly with the CHWs in his area to problem solve when issues arise.
Pascal was honored on March 27 at a ceremony in Kigali. Attendees at the event included Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, the Rwanda Minster of Health, representatives from the Community Health Desk, Pascal’s CHW Supervisor, the district CHW supervisor, the Titulaire, Save the Children’s Mark Shriver, family members, and several of his CHW colleagues.
Read about an honoree from the first REAL Awards.