In an increasingly economically challenged world where health care resources are in short supply, costly and inadequate to meet the demand, there is a need and opportunity for communities to take ongoing, comprehensive action to improve their health and well being.
It has become clear that the health care provided by governments of developing countries is not able to meet demands, and even nonprofits attempting to fill the deficit are not reaching all of those who need health care most. MAP International’s Total Health Village program was designed in response to these inadequacies.
The program is innovative because it does not relate to the community as a service provider, but rather as a facilitator that guides the community to identify needs, analyze their situation, plan a response strategy, actively work with the CORP (Community’s Own Resource Persons) and engage in solving their own problems. MAP recognizes that Total Health is the capacity of individuals, families, and communities to work together to transform the conditions that promote their physical, emotional, economic, environmental, and spiritual well being. Therefore, the program encompasses several sectors including agriculture/food security, water and sanitation, business/markets, education and health.
The THV is careful to align with the national priorities of the country where it is in operation and the mission of MAP International. MAP’s core mission through the THV is to:
1. Promote holistic well-being
2. Prevent disease and mitigate disaster
3. Provide essential medicines and health care
The community identifies their own Total Health priorities which then fall into one of the above categories. MAP recognizes that the best way to focus these priorities is through a 50-40-10 strategy. That is, 50% of the effort promotes holistic well-being through livelihood security and community organization, 40% prevents disease and mitigate disasters, and 10% provides medicines and treatment.
Health Promoters play an essential role in the Total Health Village program. Health promoters are individuals who have been trained by MAP to address the heath needs of their community. Health promoters often provide health education and basic health care, identify diseases, manage community pharmacies, and refer those who are sick to the right places to get proper care. They often exhibit leadership qualities and can mobilize their community for meetings or projects.
Initially, MAP works to identify the CORP (Community’s Own Resource Persons) and an Entry Point Program. The CORP take ultimate responsibility for the community’s well-being, and grow in responsibility and knowledge until they are equipped to find resources and establish their own networks (functioning much like an NGO), thereby ensuring sustainability (especially financial) once MAP is no longer involved. The Entry Point Program may be in the form of a disease-specific intervention or issue such as a disaster that affects a sizable part of the population. When the program has addressed this issue alongside the community, it is able to expand in scope.