The family health house model expands its reach to Herat province

‘Delivering reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health in remote areas to save lives of women and children of Afghanistan'

Kabul, 25th February 2013 - The Family Health House Model (FHH) is an innovative model that ensures provision of essential reproductive maternal and newborn and child health services to people living in remote areas, increasing the number of deliveries and neonates attended by skilled health care providers and strengthening community partnership and ownership enhancing overall sustainability of the health care system in remote rural areas of Afghanistan. "The Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan (MoPH) welcomes the agreement between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Italian Development Cooperation to expand the Family Health House Model in Herat province", stated HE Dr. Suraya Dalil, Minister of Public Health of Afghanistan in this regard.

The FHH provides free of charge services across the continuum of care from pre-pregnancy through to childhood and from home to health facility in case of emergency. Ante-natal care, deliveries, post-natal care, newborn and child care, support breast feeding, family planning and immunization will be provided to women in their own communities 24 hours and 7 days a week in safe and culturally acceptable circumstances. A FHH is staffed by one certified midwife from the village where the FHH is located, which will ensure retention of her services, supported by two community health workers, one male and one female, and by the active support of a Community Health Shura. This approach is to expand Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) coverage to remote villages and increase healthcare access to marginalized populations in rural communities in a cost effective manner.

With the financial support of the Government of Italy, UNFPA and its implementing partner ACTD just started the process to establish the first nine FHH in three remote districts of Herat Province i.e Obe, Chasht-e-Sharif and Farsi reaching up to approximately 36,000 beneficiaries by 2015. FHH model has been included into the National Priority Program as well as in the Reproductive Health Strategy of the MoPH. Once it is piloted it will be included in the Reproductive Health policy and integrated into the BPHS in its next revision. "The Italian Government has supported the National Health Care since 2004, focusing on the provinces of Kabul, Baghlan and Herat with the aim of promoting access to basic health service for the Afghan people through the rehabilitation of health facilities and by providing equipment, training and technical assistance", stated Luciano Pezzotti, the Ambassador of Italy to Afghanistan.

He further added: "We have committed ourselves to expanding the reach of this innovative and successful program, The Family Health House Model, to Herat province in order to address the severe shortage of trained female health care providers in the remotest parts of the Province in a sustainable owned manner, thus granting access to reproductive health and family planning services even to rural communities." "The FHH model is a sustainable response to Afghanistan reproductive health needs and represents a fundamental contribution to the improvement of maternal health in Afghanistan" affirmed Dr. Laurent Zessler, UNFPA Afghanistan Representative.