Rain, heat, dust and distance never get in the way of Mariam Joseph, 35, as she goes about her work supporting her community in the Itilima district of Tanzania.
Her role as a Community Health Worker involves visiting homes to talk to families about basic health and hygiene, record-keeping, and data collection for programmes focused on improving the health of mothers and their children. The households she visits are scattered, making it difficult for her to see more than a few families each day since, until recently, she had to walk everywhere.
Through a programme funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), Amref Health Africa has been able to support Mariam and her fellow Community Health Workers in carrying out their work. Mariam and her colleagues have received a range of items that are helping them to do their jobs better: bicycles, umbrellas, rain coats, flashlights, bags, T-shirts, counter books, a cap and rubber boots. The project, called UZAZI UZIMA, is focused on improving the health of moms and babies in rural and hard-to-reach areas of Tanzania.
Mariam is excited to use her new supplies: “I am happy to receive this bicycle which will enable me to reach many families and reduce my travel time during home visits. During rainy season I will be able to travel because I have an umbrella, rain coat and a pair of gumboots. Personally, and on behalf of my other team members, I thank Amref Health Africa and the Government of Canada for supporting us with materials. In addition to the equipment, the training I received on maternal, newborn and child health has empowered me with knowledge.”
Thanks to supplies and training provided to the Community Health Workers, more women in the district are now giving birth in health facilities under the assistance of skilled health workers, helping to reducing maternal deaths.
“Now I will visit more households in a shorter period of time, and the supplies will really improve health services delivery in our community," says Mariam.
Funded by the Government of Canada through its Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development (DFATD) under the MUSKOKA initiative, Uzazi Uzima is implemented in five districts of Simiyu Region: Busega, Maswa, Itilima, Bariadi and Meatu
The project aims to accelerate efforts to improve the health of mothers, newborns and children. The focus is on strengthening the interface between community and the formal health system, creating a strong connection where information and health services can flow freely back and forth. The project also aims to promote effective, transparent, and accountable systems and services, underpinned by rights based approach and equity.