“How is the news?”
“The news is good,” says Community Health Worker (CHW) Supervisor Oulaï Rostand Lewis, as he accompanies Muso CHW Nadeige Mobio on her door-to-door visits to patients. At the start of the visit, he continues to exchange pleasantries with community members in Attié, one of the local languages of Côte d’Ivoire. Civilities are important here in Diapé.
In this small town of 7,000 people, the news of care without user fees quickly spread like wildfire since the launch of Muso’s operations in March. In fact, in the first two weeks of launching our test site, we saw a more than 10x increase in patient visits, particularly for pregnant women and cases of malaria.
As the home visits continue, Nadeige takes the lead, asking patients about their health, the health of their children, and informing them about prevention measures against malaria. “No one is sick here,” says one woman sitting on her front porch while she braids her hair with bright red extensions, “but I heard there is a sick woman in that house.” She points towards the house behind hers.
Nadeige quickly makes her way over to the neighbors’ house. After a few minutes, a woman steps out of the room and sits on a bench in the yard. It turns out Nadeige had seen her a few days earlier and referred her to the health center, but this time her symptoms had changed. The first time she was examined by the CHW, she complained of an earache. “When I went to the health center, they examined me and gave me medication for free,” she recounts. “My earache disappeared the same day, but the next day I woke up with an intense headache and bumps all over my body.” She held out her arms and pointed to her face, all of which had been covered with a white, muddy substance to help with the itching.
Nadeige is trained to detect and treat a range of illnesses — none of which the woman seemed to have — and to escalate patients to the health center for further care as needed. Only a few hours later, the mystery was solved: Nadeige and Oulaï encountered the patient at the doors of the health center, where she had just been diagnosed with chickenpox and provided with advice and treatment to assuage the discomfort until she healed.
At 2 PM, after completing their supervised visits for the day, Nadeige and Oulaï settle under the veranda of the health center to hold their one-on-one feedback session — a key component of Muso’s 360° Supervision Model. This is an opportunity for the supervisor and the CHW to express concerns, ask questions, suggest improvements, and give accolades.
After only three months of the launch of Muso operations in Diapé, both Nadeige and Oulaï agree that there is a general acceptance of CHWs and their role as health workers within the community.
“At first, I was unsure whether people would accept us in their homes. I did not know if they would be comfortable answering questions about their health, but generally people have been very welcoming,” explains Nadeige.