APC's Assessment of the FCHV Program in Nepal
For almost 30 years, Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) have brought maternal and child health information and health services to every community in Nepal, particularly in hard-to-reach areas. In order for the FCHV program to be responsive to the changing health situation of the country and the changing needs of the FCHVs, APC conducted a mixed methods cross-sectional assessment of the FCHV program in September 2014. The assessment explores the job satisfaction of FCHVs, range of services provided, and challenges in greater detail and the results will be discussed in country in the upcoming months with the Ministry of Health and Population and USAID/Nepal.
Initial results of the survey found that:
- More than half (68%) reported spending 1-3 days per week on their FCHV work, and three out of four reported wanting to devote more time to their FCHV work in the future.
- Many FCHVs felt that they needed to serve people and that their volunteer work gave them the opportunity to learn new things and teach them to the community.
- Almost all (90%) FCHVs completely agreed that they’re happy to be FCHVs.
- On average, 98% of FCHVs provided counseling for antenatal care services, 84% provided counseling for postnatal care services and 66% provided counseling for newborn care services.
- Ninety six percent of FCHVs reported receiving basic training on health promotion and reported that they supported different health campaigns such as vitamin A distribution, polio eradication and iron and folic acid distribution.
Some of the challenges included:
- FCHVs having to provide curative services for which they are not trained, in remote areas where access to health facilities is challenging.
- Some FCHVs having difficulty with reporting services, particularly those that are illiterate.
- A continual demand for increased incentives among FCHVs for the services they provide.