Public Health matters with JF Kapnek Zimbabwe
According to the CDC Foundation public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing, and responding to infectious diseases. Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations. These populations can be as small as a local neighbourhood, or as big as an entire country or region of the world.
Public Health is the branch of medicine dealing with public health, including hygiene, epidemiology, and disease prevention.
JF. Kapnek Zimbabwe works to improve family health, reduce child mortality, and create educational opportunities for the children of Zimbabwe. Our programmes are structured around four main themes: Family Health, Early Childhood Development & health, Orphans, and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and Children with Disabilities.
The contribution of Public Health assessments is of essential significance for JF Kapnek Zimbabwe in both the preparedness planning process and monitoring of our family health and early childhood developments efforts. Public Health efforts are engaged in all stages of the planning process for public health crisis control.
Meet Gail Chirebvu a Public Health intern at JF Kapnek Zimbabwe.
Q & A
1. What is your area of study and what stage are you on in your studies?
I am studying towards a master’s in Public Health, Health Promotion degree, currently in the final of the two-year programme at the University of Zimbabwe.
- What programmes have you reviewed at JF Kapnek Zimbabwe and your recommendations for each programme to be most beneficial and visible?
So far, I have completed a secondary data analysis on “Contribution of lay community cadres on HIV Self testing in PEPFAR supported districts in Masvingo Province. The Target Accelerate Sustain Quality Care (TASQC) programme employed ‘expert patients’ to assist in HIV case identification in the community. These are known as Community Outreach Agents (COAs). We analysed data submitted by the COAs and found that of the clients that they tested in the community, 25% had never been tested for HIV and 10% were identified to be infected. We also noted that more positives were being identified among the contacts of those who have tested positive. The research informed the program that the use of lay cadres is a good innovation to shift tasks from the overburdened health worker and can be useful in combating other diseases in the community for example Tuberculosis where screening and contact tracing are important.
With guidance and supervision from the JF Kapnek Zimbabwe Technical Director, Dr Kudzai Masunda, I am in the process of reviewing the STI programme and Viral load surveillance system in Zaka district.
- How does JF Kapnek Zimbabwe assist in your research and review work?
The organisation assists with data that I use to conceptualise the research, I also enjoy assistance to improve the concept and writing from the field supervisor, SIE Manager and other staff members. JF Kapnek Zimbabwe also assists me with resources to go for data collection, and there are experts in data analysis from whom I tap to produce a good report.
- What role are you playing in the fight against Covid_19 in your work?
The role I have played so far in the fight against COVID-19 was to review the JF Kapnek COVID 19 Guidelines this year, 2022, so that it is in tandem with the ever-changing nature of the pandemic. I have also done an evaluability assessment of the JF Kapnek Zimbabwe COVID-Go Program. I am vaccinated against COVID-19 and continue to encourage staff and others to get vaccinated against the disease. Vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective. They are free as well.
- Looking at the JF Kapnek Zimbabwe Strategy, what are your comments in ways in which it can be more beneficial and visible in Public Health efforts?
JF Kapnek Zimbabwe’s Strategic Plan 2021-2025 has six pillars whose direction is informed by Education, HIV and AIDS, Nutrition, Orphans, and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and disability in Zimbabwe. There is a lot of work that has been done by the organisation and continues to be done. JF Kapnek Zimbabwe’s scope of work is so vast covering the OVC and TASQC programmes. Public health practice is very relevant and important to both programmes. The organisation tracks the set or targeted indicators for these programmes and lessons learnt can help improve the programs. Since the programs are so invested in the community, information gathered is being used to strengthen community action against diseases and contribute to disease prevention. This empowers communities to have control over their health while ensuring that the community programs become more sustainable. The organisation must continue to do research and publish it as a way of sharing information on work being done, others can learn from it.