The Africa Christian Health Association Platform (ACHAP) was established in 2007 as an advocacy and networking platform for improving knowledge sharing and joint learning among CHAs and Church Health Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa. CHA networks have a long history of working within developing countries to provide health care services to populations in need, and they form the integral link between the Ministry of Health and the faith-based health care facilities. ACHAP provides the framework for a collaborative network with a cohesive voice to advocate for equitable access to quality health care. ACHAP also provides the knowledge and skills for member facilities to deliver better care for their clientele. Currently, ACHAP’s membership includes 43 CHAs in 32 countries.
With the adoption of a new constitution and registration as an International NGO in May 2012 in Nairobi Kenya and hosted by the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), ACHAP began establishing formal organizational structures to better serve its members. The process started in October 2012 through an institutional assessment that informed the need for the Platform to focus on five key objectives that will better equip the Platform as a network organization with strong capacity to provide the following functions:
Advocating and Lobbying
Negociating and Contracting
Coordinating and Synergy
Leadership and Value building
Committed to achieve its mission and vision as well as continuously support its members , ACHAP is currently leading the following activities:
ACHAP and CHA-NIGERIA HOLD TOT TO ELIMINATE HIV STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION AT HEALTH FACILITIES
ACHAP in partnership with the Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CHAN) in July worked with 20 mission health facilities in 4 states of Nigeria (Benue, Plateau, Enugu and Oyo) towards the elimination of HIV-related stigma and discrimination at health facilities. Thirty-nine health workers and religious leaders (from sponsor congregations of the health facilities) were trained as Trainers of Trainers (TOTs) with the aim of passing on the information to health workers and sponsor congregations. Three states of Nigeria were trained as TOTs with health workers on HIV protocols and stigma and discrimination towards eliminating stigma and discrimination in health care settings of the CHAN network. The training was also supported by Nigeria Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Inerela+ Nigeria, and Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN).
ACHAP IN DRC
ACHAP participated in the Interfaith Consultation Workshop on Femininity and Masculinity with youth, teachers as well as religious leaders organized by World Council of Churches. ACHAP’s agenda also included starting conversations with our members in the Democratic Republic of Congo on creating a national Christian Health Association platform in DRC. A five-member committee was formed to pilot the creation of CHA-DRC, and they agreed on the following steps for moving forward:
To call on other Christian organizations working in the health sector in DRC to share and discuss with them the idea of creating a CHA-DRC;
To meet religious leaders, especially the leaders of different denominations to explain as well as advocate for an endorsement of the project(despite the distance issue );
To put together a clear timetable on the process of creating the platform CHA-DRC
ACHAP AT AIDS 2018 IN AMSTERDAM
ACHAP’s board chair Mr. Peter Yeboah and Coordinator Nkatha Njeru participated in the “Faith Building Bridges” preconference at the interfaith affiliated event of the International AIDS Conference 2018 (in Amsterdam, Netherlands) where representatives of faith-based organizations (FBOs), religious leaders, health care providers, activists, scientists, policymakers and other stakeholders were gathered. Nkatha spoke at a session on efforts of FBOs in elimination of stigma and discrimination. Mr. Peter Yeboah was on a panel on the role of faith groups in TB. “In the communities we serve you will find three things: a school, a church and a health facility. And it is important to use these resources to beat the virus’s spread. Religious leaders have strong connections in the communities they serve and therefore can influence the community’s behavior,’’ Nkatha said. “AIDS is caused by a virus and not curable as yet, but stigma is originated by man and can be cured by human actions,” she concluded.
SURVEY AIMED AT BUILDING CAPACITY OF CHAs
In order to identify capacity gaps as well as strengths to leverage on as a platform, ACHAP is conducting an assessment using a Rapid Organizational Capacity Assessment (ROCAT) Tool that they have developed with support from a systems strengthening consultant and the University of Cape Town (UCT). Once the assessment is completed, ACHAP shall work together with the CHAs on action plans that will include peer-to-peer mentorship visits in the coming months. The ROCAT is designed to be self-administered by a team from the responding organization. The utility and benefit of the findings of the assessment to the organization will only be as good as the organization’s responding team is able to take its time to carefully and honestly respond to the questions asked in the tool.
CONFRONTING THE DOCUMENTATION CHALLENGES OF FBOS
One of the greatest gaps that hinders the work of the faith-based organizations is documentation. A lot of work is done by faith-based organizations but very little is documented and even when it is, in most cases, the information is incomplete. As you know, if it is not written down, it’s as if it did not happen.
In order to bridge and close documentation gaps within its member organizations through supporting them to collect information, analyze it and share the same, ACHAP brought together M&E officers from CHAs to discuss innovative ways of working on the documentation gaps together. Members have created a platform on which issues of common challenge are discussed and as well identify small projects of common interest that members can embark on together. At the moment, CHAs have identified HIV indicators to track and report on quarterly and are currently working on modalities for engaging on a maternal and child health technology application with support of an organization known as Medic Mobil.
WASH AT HEALTH FACILITIES
ACHAP Secretariat in partnership with Emory University with support from Global Water 2020 hosted a training on WASH in health facilities in the second week of June 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. The training brought together participants from five CHAs coming from five African countries: Lesotho, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Kenya. Using the WASHCon assessment tool developed by the Centre for Global Safe WASH, Emory University, the trainees were trained on assessing the WASH conditions of health facilities. The aim of this project is to assess, and consequently improve, WASH conditions of the member health facilities in the five countries.
LEARNING HOW TO TELL OUR STORY
IMA World Health partnered with ACHAP to build the capacity of CHAs in storytelling, photography and communications ethics, and to create a support and sharing network among field and communications staff. The training was held in Nairobi and five ACHAP members were represented during a two-day training where 22 members of staff from ACHAP members attended.
Africa Christian Health Associations Platform
PO Box 30690-00100 Nairobi
Tel: +254 722203617/ +254 733334419