CHWs from Lafiabougou
What would you like to say to Mali Health’s supporters?
Birama: We send our supporters a big greeting. We thank you for your generosity, and we are excited to continue working with you to fight against malnutrition and maternal and child mortality. We need your help to promote the health of our communities – to give our communities high quality healthcare.
How does your work help the community?
Birama: We surveyed families in the community to find those who need help paying for health services. Those who are enrolled in the Action for Health program get financial support when their children are sick, and it is our work as CHWs to find those who are sick and refer them to the health center.
Fatoumata: Our work helps reduce the cost of care for people because we help them pay medical costs and refer their children to the health center so they know when it is really necessary to go.
How has your perspective on health and healthcare changed through your work?
Aminata: Before I started working with Mali Health, I had heard false information about the health center. But now I know it is a good center and does quality work.
Kadidiatou: Before we CHWs started working in the community, many people refused to come to the health center because they didn’t know what kind of services were provided and there were rumors that the doctors only practiced traditional medicine. But now they know those rumors are false and, because of us, the health center is highly attended.
What skills have you learned from your work?
Kadidiatou: I have learned so much about health, including details that I never knew before, like how many prenatal care visits a woman must attend when she is pregnant.
Aminata: I enhanced my public speaking skills as I have spoken in front of large groups of people during health fairs.
Abdoulaye: I learned how to look for danger signs in children’s health and how to communicate with the motive of changing people’s behavior.
Birama: I have become more kind, sensitive, and open to the problems of others. My ability to understand people and know their needs has progressed so much. I have learned to highly value others and put myself at their service.
How has your work affected your relations with your family and your community?
Abdoulaye: My work has greatly enhanced my relations with my family and community. I am respected now in the community; they love my work and support me personally. This job has helped me get to know the people in my community and helped them to know me.
Birama: The community knows now that there are people among them who are very interested in their health and the health of their children.
What is your best experience with a family you visited?
Aminata: I remember at one house I visited there was a child who was very sick and malnourished. The mother was so worried. I sent the child and her mother to the health center for the child to join the malnutrition program there. The girl came to the health center each week for the program and gained weight and got better. If you had seen the girl when she was sick and saw her now, you would say she’s not the same girl because she looks so much healthier.
Birama: There are lots of stories like that! I was at a house once where the maid’s child was sick with malnutrition and a cough. I referred the child to the health center where he joined the malnutrition program and was given nutrition supplements. He recently had a weight and height analysis at the center and has gained weight. I actually just saw him last night and he has grown so much!
Why did you choose to become a CHW?
Aminata: We love our work because we get to help people, especially young children. The projects we work on are very good and help many.
Birama: I chose to work with Mali Health because I support them. They fight against poverty. If you support our programs, that helps us to help our own families and our own communities. I would also like to be a financial supporter of Mali Health one day when I have the means.
Fatoumata: I am very happy to be a part of this team. We work on projects that truly help the poor.
Abdoulaye: I was unemployed, but Mali Health came to our community and now I have a job. At the end of each month, I can go out and buy things for my family that I could not provide before. This job supports our daily lives.
Kadidiatou: Mali Health taught me so many things concerning health—things that will allow me to aid my community and help my own child in the future. Even if there was another job available, I wouldn’t leave Mali Health, because I adore this organization.