Apr 23, 2018

Sustaining Support

Residential Training April 2018
Residential Training April 2018

During April Community Health Workers from around Zimba and Kazungula District gathered in Livingstone for a residential training week. The aim was to refresh their understanding of various areas of health. ‘Spotting the sick person’ was one of the key themes, needed to support the CHWs in their key role of identifying early stages of serious illness so that patients can be referred through the rural health centres to the appropriate healthcare staff.

The training was delivered by doctors from On Call Africa working alongside specialists from partner agencies and representatives from statutory health services.

The CHWs benefitted from sessions on eye complaints led by ophthalmologists from Vision Aid. They also had teaching about back pain and ergonomics from a physiotherapist from Livingstone General Hospital. Back pain is one of the issues we frequently encounter from the women in the communities. So the physiotherapists are also now occasionally accompanying the doctors when they go to the villages to run mobile clinics.

One of the issues about which we are continuing to raise awareness is gender-based violence. Members of the GBV team from Livingstone Hospital presented a further session on this, having introduced the issue to the CHWs last year. Our aim is that the CHWs will be equipped to signpost women to the support available in their districts. Other sessions were delivered by the Mental Health team.

Alongside the formal sessions the residential training gave the CHWS a chance to met up and share with CHWs from other villages, gain support and guidance from doctors, and enjoy some good company and food!

Jan 23, 2018

Early interventions at rural clinics

Rural health post
Rural health post

During recent weeks there have been several times when early diagnosis and treatment at the clinics has enabled young babies to be assisted and in at least one case, averted the worst outcome. These edited extracts from our clinic reports describe what’s been happening.

“In Simango village a 3 month old baby was seen by Dr A on clinic. He had labored breathing and was floppy. Dr B put up a saline drip and gave cef-trimaxole. More fluid was given at Simango Rural Health Centre and the baby seemed to be picking up. Within 2 hours 45 minutes of a doctor first seeing the patient the baby was admitted at Zimba Hospital.”

“At the clinic in Libala on 18th September Dr C noticed that a baby was really wrapped up in the clinic queue and was concerned the she couldn’t breathe properly. Dr C went to the Mum and asked her to pull back the blankets a bit so she could see the baby. After enquiring why they were there the Mum explained the baby was four days old and was struggling to feed. Dr B saw the baby and called Dr A over for a second opinion. They both agreed the baby was likely septic after completing observations, which included temperature, heart rate, glucose and respiratory rate…and set to work setting up an IV line The baby was white, floppy and quite unresponsive…The baby and mother were transferred to Livingstone Hospital. On the way the baby deteriorated and the respiratory rate went from 60 to 40 which was inappropriate for its condition and the baby became less responsive and practically unconscious… On arrival the baby was transferred for ventilation…”

Fortunately, most of our patients can be successfully treated at the mobile clinics themselves. And the work of the Community Health Workers is vital in providing a point of medical advice and assistance on the days our team are in other villages, and are especially trained in identifying early signs of serious illness.

To help continue this valuable outreach work, On Call Africa are pleased to have welcomed a new Operations Manager in Livingstone. She is herself a young Zambian mum with a baby under one year old and understands the challenges of raising children in challenging environments. She also brings a wealth of experience of running health projects with Zambian organisations and will be able to build on the legacy of the amazing volunteers who have worked as Project Coorindators over the past five years.

Finally, we’re delighted to let you know that the four day-old baby girl from Libala stablised and a couple of weeks after that worrying week mum and baby are back home and making progress.

And the three month-old baby boy from Simango is now beginning to thrive.

CHWs and doctors working together
CHWs and doctors working together
Oct 30, 2017

Messages about Malaria and Mosquitoes

Learning about nets
Learning about nets

A few weeks ago we were asked by local rural health centres and village health volunteers to help them remind young people some important messages about malaria, and how they can reduce the risk of contracting this disease.

So our team of Community Health Workers and Doctors have been out in the village schools around Simango, Katapazi and Mapatizya Rural Health Centres helping young people learn about malaria. One simple but important messages is that sleeping beneath a mosquito net significantly reduces risk. During October we were able to reach 1,218 young people with this important message.

Before these sessions many of the children and young people knew that malaria could cause diarrhoea, dizziness, fever and headaches. They also knew that malaria is spread by the bite of the female mosquito.

Despite this, lots of them said that they weren’t sleeping under mosquito nets. Some said the nets were too hot, others found them to be itchy. In some households the nets were being used for fishing, or only old and ineffective nets were available for the children.

During our sessions they learnt more about how malaria is spread. They practiced putting up mosquito nets properly so that its more comfortable to sleep under them. They discovered that they could user the nets to cover water to stop mosquitoes gathering.

After the sessions on malaria we’re pleased to report that 70% of the participants said they are going to change their behaviour, keep their skin covered at night and sleep under those nets. There's still lots to be done, but we're glad that progress is being made in helping get these messages about malaris into remote rural locations.

Lots of young people are hearing the message
Lots of young people are hearing the message
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