COMMUNITY HEALTH VOLUNTEER: NELLY LUMBASI
Nelly works as a community health volunteer at Malava district hospital, helping screen and refer TB patients to health facilities for diagnosis and treatment. She also sensitizes and enrolls tuberculosis patients using the Keheala intervention. There are many cases of tuberculosis in the area because of high HIV prevalence, unemployment, alcoholism and poor control measures.
“I share with my community the knowledge that I have received from Keheala,” she said. “During my interaction with Keheala, I’ve learnt many things that I did not know before. I’ve become empowered to help my people." She recalls screening and referring two children to the nearby facility for treatment and enrolling them on Keheala intervention after their mother left them behind with their father. Today, the two children and their father are healthy and happy, thanks to the support they are receiving from Keheala.
Nelly also describes Keheala, which translates to ‘healing within the community’ as an intervention that encourages patients to take their drugs every day, empower them with information as well as demystify myths and perceptions about tuberculosis in their community. “Changing attitudes around tuberculosis has taken time, but I am seeing progress and Keheala has helped us convince patients that tuberculosis is curable and that any one can get infected,” Nelly said.