A mother of six, Margaret Ikoko, 30, from Bariadi in northern Tanzania, experienced late in her life the positive effect of community health workers on her labour and delivery. “I didn’t have the privilege of attending a maternity clinic or even having a hospital delivery, as most of my deliveries were at home assisted by a traditional birth attendant and my relatives,” she said. “During my last pregnancy, household visits by community health workers changed my attitude towards home delivery. I was not even aware of the services offered in clinics. Having experienced a smooth delivery in a clinic myself, I am now well positioned to educate other women in my community about the importance of antenatal visits and delivering under the care of a skilled health worker.”
Now a community health worker herself, Margaret was trained through Amref Health Africa’s Uzazi Uzima project which aims at improving maternal, newborn and child health services in the region to reduce the unacceptably high rates of maternal and neonatal mortality. Through her motivation and passion, Margaret has become a key provider of health services to the entire community in Sakwe village, one of the six villages which form Sakwe ward in Bariadi.
After her personal experience with community health workers, Margaret is passionate about educating her community in improving the health of mothers and of children under five. Now working as the chairperson of all CHWs in Sakwe, Margaret organises and coordinates community education activities and performs routine household visits to women in need of help.
Margaret is also using a family planning method herself, which enables her to have more control over her life, live more confidently, organise and coordinate her community mobilisation activities effectively and perform her routine household visits.
Amref Health Africa in Tanzania implements the Uzazi Uzima project in the entire Simiyu Region. The project works with other passionate and motivated community health workers just like Margaret to ensure that all communities in the region have fewer deaths of mothers and babies.