USAID is working with local non-government organizations to implement Jalasa Sehi Jamea (JSJ), or community health meetings, as an effective way to spread key health messages and promote positive behavior change within villages and communities. The JSJ program is a series of structured, segregated meetings of men and women who live in the same community carried out over a six-month period of time.
Using local language audiocassettes, these two-hour interactive sessions bring information and answers to the health discussions in a confidential and supportive environment. During the sessions, the men and women are able to learn about birth spacing methods, safe water systems, and diarrhea prevention products as well as express their needs and misconceptions related to these public health products.
Participants’ direct participation is encouraged and accurate information on the health topics and USAID’s socially marketed condoms, oral and injectable contraceptives, safe water solution, and oral rehydration salts is presented. The participation of husbands within the separate male sessions underscores the role they play in providing basic family planning and maternal and child healthcare for their families. The JSJ sessions are complemented by radio and TV spots, religious leader training, and in more remote areas, mobile cinemas.
Men discuss birth spacing products and other health products at a JSJ men’s meeting in Daman District, Kandahar.
The program was first introduced in four districts of Hirat, Nangarhar, Takhar and Bamyan provinces and was later expanded to 24 districts in Hilmand, Uruzgan, Kandahar, Farah, Nimroz, and Ghazni provinces. Recently, the program further expanded to an additional 88 districts in 18 provinces, with a particular emphasis on key terrain districts and provinces in the south and east with the goal of reaching all 34 provinces in the country. So far, the program has conducted over 5,250 meeting sessions and reached approximately 70,500 men and women with life-saving health information.