What is your role?
Community Health Worker
Why did you come a Health Worker?
I was motivated to become a Community Health Worker because I have an interest in improving the health of the members of my community, in particular the children. I am grateful to receive training and support from On Call Africa. With the knowledge and experience I now have, I’m able to spot a malnourished child. I am happy to have the duty of teaching new mothers how to make a nutritious supplement from local beans and green vegetables, together we pound them, add sugar and make a porridge that covers all the children lack in their diet.
“My children and my neighbour’s children were starving, we were ignorant and uneducated on how to prevent this.”
Tell me about your community….
My community is insufficiently educated. If a patient is prescribed a course of medication for three days I have to physically visit them, ensuring they have taken the medicines as instructed. Many people do not have phones and network is a challenge. I often travel up to 10 kilometres to see people at home.
What support is needed?
I’m seeing a growing need for family planning education. Children are more advanced than we were. I see many cases of underage pregnancies, in girls sometimes as young as twelve. As a trusted and recognised health worker in my community, I encourage families to acknowledge this fact. But contraception is not socially acceptable as it is believed this would encourage children to do more ‘bad things’.
It’s culturally still taboo for children to discuss sexual health matters with their own parents and a stigma against condoms still exists – despite sex education in school and specific HIV/AIDs programmes. I want to know how best to care for babies that are born with a positive status.
How has On Call Africa helped?
Since working with On Call Africa I feel better equipped to help my community, I have access to a reliable source of medicines and equipment such as a thermometer and stationary.
I’ve been involved in lobbying parliament to build a clinic closer to my community. During the rainy season we are cut off, passing the rivers to reach a clinic is very difficult and On Call Africa mobile clinics cannot reach us. After three years, now, they are listening. Our previous effort as a community was to make bricks and buid a new toilet block at the school after progress on the clinic stalled.
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