“I am personally very happy and I know a lot of people are happy because they got a chance to do the TB screening for free and it has impacted a lot of people in a very short period….”. This was a part of the response from one of the Medical Assistants named Sophia Mbwana (55) who has been in service for 36 years. When the Mobile Van Clinic arrived at Sakami the village, leaders informed the community members of the free TB screening where people were being screened, receive results and treatment for those who were found sick. The medical personnel like Clinical officers were very excited to provide the X-Ray TB Screening as it gives the results is a short time different from the past practice of using the laboratory which consumes time and resources. Sophia was giving an example that on day one of the Mobile Clinic operation, she attended 35 clients and 24 of them were found TB positive.
Given the geography of Sakami village and its beautiful nature of hills and valleys, it is very challenging for the people to access medical service when they need one because the transport system and the roads aren’t convenient. Looking at this clinic’s importance, some people came from really far villages of more than 60 kms only to get this service. “One patient came from Hondomairo village which is more than 60kms from here to be screened and he was found TB positive” said Sophia. Talking to a Clinical Officer, Ashraf Adam (32) he commented, “In normal cases most people wouldn’t go to the hospital for TB screening but this has been different because the mobile clinic has experienced medical practitioners and it is free”. He also mentioned that they see some cases of relapse and he believes that more education on TB needs to reach out to the people as most villagers aren’t aware of the signs of TB and the measures that they should take.
I was still looking on how hopeful the faces of villagers were as they waited patiently for their turn to see the Doctors for either screening or results. Suddenly, I saw a very pretty little gal who wore her school uniforms and she appeared like she came from school. I was interested to know if she was escorting her parent or granny for screening. To my surprise when I approached her, she told me her name is Rahma Faraji, 10 years old and she came for self-screening. At this point I noticed a man standing with her and she said he was her father. I wondered how they came to the service and her dad said Rahma has been coughing for the past two years…. “Rahma has been having an endless cough for two years but I gave her traditional herbs and never took her to the hospital”. I asked Rahma how she felt she said she had fever and the cough irritates her. So when the news about the mobile van spread, Rahma got the information… “My teacher announced in school that there is free medical check-up for TB so I went home and asked father to bring me for screening”. After the screening Rahma’s results came out TB positive and she was given the medication to start treatment right away. “I advise the other parents and everyone to come and get screened because you may think that you are fine while you are not” said Rahma’s father promising that he will ensure that Rahma uses the medication and gets cured.
The villagers were appreciative of the service….“ I am really grateful for the Mobile Clinic service from Amref, they have been supporting us on health matters, my community is very happy and thankful to Amref Health Africa” said Sofia Ramadhani (34) a CHW at Sakami Village. She also requested for more medical equipment and the mobile clinic service to be present after every few months. It was highly emphasized that people should take care of their health and attend the clinic once they feel the signs of TB for proper handling and treatment.