In recent years, communities in western China have undergone rapid development; however, ethnic minority populations in the region have been insufficiently prepared to benefit from this transformation. Rapid urbanization has had a negative impact on quality of life for many ethnic minority communities, which among other poor health outcomes have experienced a high prevalence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and echinococcosis, significant levels of malnutrition in children under five, and above-average rates of maternal mortality. The Strengthening Communities and Accelerating Local Engagement (SCALE) project will facilitate inclusive growth and enhance the ability of ethnic minority communities to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from health-related shocks and stressors.
To achieve these goals, SCALE is (1) building the capacity of public and private sector providers to ensure the availability of culturally competent health care services in local languages and (2) engaging with communities to ensure understanding of health risks associated with rapid modernization and improve self-confidence to demand culturally appropriate health services. SCALE is working with the Yunnan Anti-TB Association and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease to carry out a human-centered approach to design, assess and rapidly adapt local solutions that honor ethnic minorities’ cultural identities. The project will strengthen health literacy through community health workers, local artists, and religious leaders, and will make grants available to minority-run community-based organizations and businesses to support local innovations. The initial focus of the project is on ethnic minority communities in Yunnan province, but SCALE will use domestic resources and build local capacity to replicate successful models across western China.
FHI 360 has been working closely with the Chinese government and civil society organizations for more than 40 years. SCALE will build on our history of successful collaboration to reduce chronic vulnerability to poor health and to ensure that ethnic minority communities are resilient and able to fully participate and thrive in the country, which is ever evolving.