Leading to Greater Health Access in Senegal

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Mrs. Pene Diarra is 48 years old and is Vice-President of Dahra Epicenter Committee (featured left explaining how the health mutual functions). She is married, has four children and has completed secondary school. Mrs. Pene has participated in many trainings in organizational and financial management, marketing, health, women's and reproductive rights, leadership and personal development.

She joined the Dahra Epicenter Committee in 2006 and was in charge of health care access. Her commitment to serve the community was related to the fact that she was running a female organization of 250 members.

To build her group members' capacities and help them get access to financial resources, she encouraged the women to register both at Dahra Epicenter and at the savings and credit mutual.

Diarra was charmed by THP-Senegal's VCAW, and she became devoted to the challenge of increasing public access to health care. With support from USAID, she mobilized 30 voluntary animators to set up a health mutual in 2007.

Presently, the health mutual has 469 members and 1,387 recipients. The health mutual enables populations to get access to health care with 75% refunds for first health care services and 100% for childbirth for women.

Thanks to THP-Senegal, Diarra has acquired knowledge in activity planning through her role in the Epicenter Committee, and she has natural interpersonal skills. Her participation in the WEP Training of Trainers (TOT) was an occasion for Diarra to build other women's capacities in women's rights, leadership and reproductive health.

Diarra has become a leader whom the community of Dahra greatly trusts. She holds many positions: Chairwoman of Manko loan group comprising 250 women, Chairwoman of the health mutual and vice-chairwoman of the epicenter committee. She is constantly in demand from the local medical authorities and partners in development (USAID, LuxDEV). She acts as councilor for the populations on issues such as women's rights, reproductive health, and the fight against diseases such as malaria and AIDS.

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