Tag Archives: Zambia

Jennifer James, founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good, was awarded a fellowship from the International Reporting Project and traveled to Zambia to report on HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria. Read all of her reporting from the trip here and on the International Reporting Project.

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.

[Photos] Honoring Women and Girls We’ve Met Around the World

Today on International Women’s Day we honor all of the women and girls we’ve met throughout our travels! Want to celebrate International Women’s Day in an impactful way? Read 4 Easy, But Impactful Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day.

PHILIPPINES

ETHIOPIA

BRAZIL

INDIA

ZAMBIA

TANZANIA

KENYA

SOUTH AFRICA

Saving Mothers Giving Life Releases Annual Report

Vaccine Day - N'Gombe Clinic - Lusaka

Today maternal health experts gathered in Washington, DC to discuss the new results from the preliminary work of Saving Mothers Giving Life, a public private partnership aimed at reducing maternal mortality in Zambia and Uganda. Utilizing the strengths of each partner program results showed that maternal mortality decreased by 30% in the districts where Saving Mothers Giving Life was implemented. In Zambia, there was a 35% reduction in maternal mortality. The reductions were significant and have shown the global health community that with key interventions improvements can be realized and effective programs can be scaled. More results can be found in the annual report.

During this morning’s meeting USAID Dr. Raj Shah gave opening remarks followed by representatives from the Ministries of Health from both Uganda and Zambia. Here are some key tweets from the proceedings.

Motherhood

[Photos] Inside a Malaria Treatment Center

I have been told enough harrowing personal stories and have read enough reports to understand contracting malaria isn’t a cakewalk. And for children (especially those under the age of five) and expectant mothers malaria can be deadly. Fortunately with rapid diagnosis and malaria treatments children as well as adults can experience speedy recoveries from a disease that is both debilitating and potentially fatal.

While in Zambia last month I visited the Chongwe District Hospital in Lusaka province with Malaria No More to see how robust malaria control efforts funded by the Zambian government, USAID, the Global Fund and other NGOs and private foundations have helped drastically reduced the number of child deaths in the country. Zambia has effectively reduced the number of malaria deaths to 8000 annually through prevention measures including mass distributions of mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, fogging, and spraying of mosquito-infected areas like bogs and dambos (shallow wetlands). The annual deaths have also been reduced because of the mass test and treatment programs that are being administered by frontline health workers around the country. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these deaths are children under the age of five because their immune systems cannot fight off the disease without the help of a positive diagnosis and follow-up medications.

In Zambia 50% of children are admitted to hospitals due to malaria according to UNICEF. You must also understand that being admitted to a hospital means that frontline health care didn’t work and that hospital care is necessary. In Zambia as well as in most developing countries, most healthcare is done on the local level. Most severe cases are referred to hospitals as was the case of these three children I met in the Chongwe District Hospital located about an hour outside of Lusaka.

While malaria is wholly preventable and treatable some children still struggle getting better when they contract the infectious disease. This little boy was extremely sick, but was steadily getting better. I took his picture as he slept with the permission of his mother who was sitting lovingly at his side.

Chongwe District Hospital Chongwe District Hospital
This little boy played with his mother’s hands and reached to breastfeed as he laid beside her. He had one of the sweetest faces I’ve ever seen and was quickly on the mend from his bout of malaria.
Chongwe District Hospital This little boy, who was snuggled with his mother, was also feeling better than before, but was quite lethargic. There are stages children have to go through to get better. Doctors had a positive prognosis for his eventual improvement. Chongwe District Hospital

By 2015, Zambia has a goal of having 100% of malaria cases are diagnosed and treated with Coartem on the community and health post level. While that goal hasn’t been achieved yet, Zambia with the expertise of Path’s MACEPA program and countrywide campaigns such as Power of One is helping Zambia steadily stand behind its commitment.

[Photos] Family Planning Kits from Ethiopia, Zambia, South Africa

I have been fortunate to visit health posts and family planning clinics in a handful of countries. One of the things I always ask to see while visiting are family planning kits used for educational purposes for clients. Some of the kits have been fancy, others have been fairly rudimentary, but they all serve the same purpose: educating women about their options to space or prevent pregnancies.

Below are a few photos of family planning kits I have seen in Ethiopia, Zambia and South Africa. You can also check out a Marie Stopes clinic I visited this summer.

Family Planning - Ethiopia
Family Planning Kit – Ethiopia
Family Planning Kit
Family Planning Kit – Johannesburg, South Africa
Family Planning Kit - Zambia
Family Planning Kit – Lusaka, Zambia

And even though this isn’t  a family planning kit I loved seeing young teenage girls at the Fountain of Hope community center for street affected kids reminding each other about peer pressure, STIs, and pregnancy.

Fountain of Hope

 

Be sure to follow the following hashtags during this week’s International Conference on Family Planning: #FP2020,  #FullAccess#FamilyPlanning, and #ICFP2013.