Raising sick children frequently can be emotionally and financially draining for any parent. When these children are conceived unplanned, economic hardships can compound. Medical bills and missed workdays can quickly add up, leaving parents struggling to make ends meet. Sauli Norbert Mwanisawa, a husband to Marry Kalungwana and a father of three children who lives at Matai village had to sell his plot and missed other economic growth opportunities to cover the pilling up cost of medical bills, prescriptions, and treatment for their last born Bennon Mwanisawa, two years old, who was born just a year after his big sister Brilliant Mwanisawa and was frequently sick. USAID Afya Shirikishi Project works to address priority gaps in TB case finding and unmet FP needs at community level in 9 regions including Rukwa. 

Sauli mwanisawa family and Fautsa Ndassi (CHW) during a household visit for integrated FP and TB health education at Matai Village, Kalambo district. Picture taken by TCDC RSBCC Officer, Soster Kizigha

Sauli and his wife were reached by a CHW (Fausta Ndassi) working with USAID Afya Shirikishi Project through household visit. They were provided with integrated education on tuberculosis (TB) and family planning. The CHW provided information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of TB, as well as the various family planning options available. This integrated approach led to a better understanding of the interconnectedness between TB and family planning, and how proper family planning measures can help prevent the spread of TB. 

After giving the education, CHW screened all the family members for TB symptoms and the presumptive were referred to Matai Health Center for further investigation whereby Bennon Mwanisawa, the last born, was diagnosed with TB through Score Chart. The child immediately started anti TB medication and her sister Brilliant received preventive therapy (IPT) 

Furthermore, the family chose to use long term FP method (Implanon) and were referred to a nearby service provider.

At first my husband was against the modern FP methods arguing that it causes Cancer, but after the thorough education given by CHW, he understood and supported me to go for the service of OUR choice.” Said Mary Kalungwana.

Nine months later Sauli and his wife are living a happy and healthy life with their family as their boy Bennon Mwanisawa has completed medication and is healthy. They are actively engaged in economic activities (gardeners), their small business is blooming and have recently finished building their new house.

“We thank this project, and we are the living proof that community-based health interventions work miracles not only to family health but more importantly to our livelihood and economic wellbeing.” Said Sauli.

Sauli is now among the five male champion who have been reached by the project to promote male involvement in Family Planning. This family is an example of the bigger community reached with integrated TB and FP services across all four regions where USAID Afya Shirikishi Project integrated interventions are implemented. 

Author: Soster Kizigha (RSBCC Officer- Rukwa)

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