In 2021 Amref Health Africa under the support of Global Fund identified and trained some Community Health Workers (CHWs) on community TB care for three days. Nasra Issa Salimu, a 22 years’ young lady who was born and raised in Bereko village was a beneficiary and became a CHW and since then she became a pioneer.
In an effort to end TB, Nasra shared her routine. “I visit local authorities to obtain schedules and permits to provide TB health education and sensitization to community meetings, open markets, schools and religious gatherings. Later on, I prepare a workplan and working tools including educational materials, TB recording and reporting tools, sputum containers and cool box. I visit respective area and provide TB education, sensitization and TB screening and refer all TB presumptive for TB diagnosis through DOT provider. I also share my mobile number in gatherings for further communication in case someone observes TB-like symptoms or comes into contact with anyone with those symptoms”.
Nasra revealed that restoring hope is what attracted her to become a CHW then she shared a very relatable story of one of her clients and it caught our attention;
“I was asked by the DOT Nurse to conduct contact tracing in a family of a newly diagnosed TB case, a mother living with her husband and children. When I visited the family, I found that the husband was sick-looking, malnourished and miserable. After talking to him I realized he has been isolated by his family thinking that he is infected with HIV. The wife was convincing the children not to come closer to their father as he can transmit the disease. This created fear within him and lost hope. After educating and counselling him, he agreed to give sputum sample on spot and I referred it to the Health Care Facility for diagnosis and the result was positive TB.
I continued with contact tracing and realized that their 15years old boy had neck swellings, therefore I referred him to the health facility for examination. The boy was diagnosed with TB outside the lungs (Extra Pulmonary TB). Both were initiated with anti-TB and have shown significant health improvements. The father has completed his treatment and the son is still on treatment. Therefore, following the improvements there is no more isolation and stigma within the family”.
It is the stories like this that keeps Nasra going. She mentions that the interrupted supply of sputum containers and a huge coverage area with limited transport allowance hinders her from performing effectively. However, she really appreciates the tangible results that she has witnessed on people she serves and her personal achievements through this Amref Initiative. She said “The monthly allowance I received has enabled me to improve my living standard. I have bought three cows and one goat. Also, I have supported my mother with small scale business capital”. She is also motivated to do more because of the collaboration she gets from the DOT Nurse and the Laboratory Technician. Between January and April 2022 she contributed in identifying 11 (46%) TB cases among 24 cases notified at Bereko Health Center.