Category Archives: Frontline Health Workers

Meet Dismus Mwalukwanda, a Community Health Worker in Zambia #WHWWeek

I walked quickly beside Dismus Mwalukwanda on a sandy path bordered by overgrown shrubbery leading through the bush to rural homes outside of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. Mwalukwanda, 43, is a frontline health worker for the Njovo Village and took me to visit a family whose young children he has treated often for malaria. Mwalukwand is in charge of helping families in his area make steps toward malaria prevention like ensuring the use of bed nets and he also tests and treats patients who come down with malaria. During the rainy season Mwalukwanda, who is married and has eight children, can see 25 homes a day.

Dismus - Frontline Health Worker

“Mostly I test people using RDT (rapid diagnostic testing),” said Mwalukwanda. “When they are found positive, I treat them.”

Malaria takes the lives of 8,000 people annually in Zambia, most of whom are children under the age of five and expectant mothers whose immune systems can often be weakened and compromised. Utilizing testing and treatments for malaria through the efforts of frontline health workers is a way of gettting health care to those who cannot access health care due to long distances from health facilities. However, when Mwalukwanda treats a patient who isn’t improving quickly from a bout of malaria he refers them to an area hospital for accelerated care.

Dismus - Frontline Health Worker

“Most people come to my house when they get sick,” Mwalukwanda added. “But, I do home visits all month. I might see 50 households a month.”

Mwalukwanda, like many community health workers, provides quality care for many families who otherwise would have no care options, especially those who live in remote, rural, or outlying areas like Njovo village. Frontline health workers the world over provide millions of people with health care armed with little more than a backpack of supplies. Frontline health workers are given robust training from governments or NGO programs that have specific programs for community health worker training.

Without the help of Mwalukwanda hundreds of children would die from malaria. He is their primary point of contact for testing and administration of Coartem, the most effective malaria medicine.

This week marks World Health Worker Week (April 7 – 11) where the global health community honors and celebrates health workers who are on the frontlines of health care for so many. This week is also a sober reminder that millions more health workers are needed to provide even more care for people who desperately need interventions to save their lives.

Follow the Frontline Health Workers Coalition all week for information about the World Health Worker Week. Join the discussion at #WHWWeek and #healthworkerscount.

Photos: Jennifer James

Full disclosure: I met Dismus Mwalukwanda while covering Malaria No More’s global launch of its Power of One campaign.

Why We’re Heading to South Africa Tomorrow #SocialGoodMomsJoburg

#SocialGoodMomsJoBurg

Building global connections both online and offline is the cornerstone of Mom Bloggers for Social Good. Tomorrow I, along with Social Good Mom and Global Team of 200 member Elizabeth Atalay (@elizabethatalay, Documama), will travel to Johannesburg to meet Social Good Moms partners as well as meet fellow Social Good Moms who live in South Africa. It’s going to be a great week, full of discoveries, education, and information and we’ll be sharing all along the way! We will start our meetings and site visits on Tuesday. We hope you follow our journey.

Follow all of our coverage with the #socialgoodmomsjoburg hashtag.

– Jennifer James, Founder, Mom Bloggers for Social Good

Can $1 Really Save a Life?

Can $1 really save a life? Global malaria eradication NGO, Malaria No More, says yes.

With Power of One (Po1), Malaria No More’s new, innovative campaign that takes the power of people’s desire to do good coupled with a low price point to online and mobile philanthropy, Malaria No More is on a mission to close the perpetual gaps between malaria testing and treatment in some of the countries where children are hardest hit by malaria.

Malaria is one of the leading causes of child deaths in developing countries. In fact, 330 billion people live in malaria prone areas and 90 percent of all malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa according to the World Health Organization. A more drastic fact is a child dies every minute from malaria, however these deaths are wholly preventable with early diagnosis and adequate treatment with malaria medicines.

Health Worker - Macha Malaria Institute
A malaria rapid diagnostic test being administered to a volunteer at Macha Malaria Research Institute in Macha, Zambia.

The problem is many children under five who live in remote areas in Africa don’t get diagnosed with malaria and treated quickly enough. Therein lies the big tragedy: a lack of access to malaria testing and medication causes 1400 deaths a day.

Through Power of One, anyone can donate $1 to save the life of a child. $1, according to Malaria No More, will provide testing and medication to a single child through the help of private sector partners such as Novartis and Alere . Malaria No More seeks to reach 3 million children in Zambia, the first country where the Power of One campaign will be rolled out. Zambia has already shown successes in its malaria control efforts through increased rapid diagnostic testing, increased bed net allocations, as well as through mobile rapid reporting systems that allow volunteer frontline health workers to report malaria cases as well as the number of or need for more malaria medical supplies in the most remote areas of the country.

To learn more and donate, visit  www.Po1.org and watch the quick video introduction about how your investment of $1 will save a child’s life.

It’s Time for the REAL Awards Again

When I was in Zambia two months ago I met a phenomenal nurse, Susan Banda, who treats women who have cervical cancer in the N’Gombe compound in Lusaka. She diagnoses and treats twenty-five women a day and says that she is increasingly seeing more cases of cervical cancer, especially in women who are HIV positive.

Her work is so selfless I made a video about Banda and her work helping so many women.

Because there are so many amazing health workers around the world Save the Children and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition launched The REAL Awards last year, an award that celebrates the selfless work of health workers who span the globe.

Nine months ago members of our Global Team of 200 spread the word about the first ever REAL Awards. Now, we are happy to spread the word again about the REAL awards’ second year where  health workers both here and abroad will be celebrated, acknowledged and awarded for their tireless work to help others.

Today marks the nomination period for the REAL Awards. You can nominate the following types of health workers:

  • nurses
  • doctors
  • midwives
  • pharmacists
  • nurse practitioners
  • hospice care workers
  • physician assistants
  • community health workers
  • public health officers
  • and general health practitioners.

If you know a deserving health worker nominate him or her at therealwards.com by October 25, 2013. Good luck to them!