While accessible within Zambia, these medicines still need to be delivered throughout the country. Volunteer community health workers, like Doreen, are essential to ensuring that high-risk, remote locations, like Hakaloba, receive the medicines they need. Doreen travels throughout the Nalube area to hand-deliver antimalarials and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). She is fueled by determination, and equipped with knowledge and skills on HIV, nutrition, family planning, and malaria that were taught to her by nurses at the Nalube Health Center. With limited access to transportation, Doreen covers the distances by any means necessary.
“I was taught to ride a bicycle by my older brother, Mark. [The bike I use] is owned by my cousin, Simon. I borrow it when I go out for community service and I have to cover long distances…I enjoy riding bicycles.
In fiscal year 2018, GHSC-PSM procured $3.6 million in ACTs for Zambia, enough to treat 7.1 million malaria infections. These ACTs are distributed beyond the health facility level with the help of self-empowered volunteers like Doreen.
“I come from a poor family. I come from Hakaloba village. [It is] a community where the only sources of income are farming or small, family businesses,” Doreen said of her home. “But the love we have for each other is more than our challenges. The community helps one another in times of difficulties.”
In 2019, GHSC-PSM is working with the Ministry of Health to develop guidelines and train community health workers on commodity management given their critical role in the supply chain.
Because of committed CHWs like Doreen — and with the continuing support of donors like PMI, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and the Gates Foundation-funded MACEPA project — southern Zambia is now heralded as a remarkable success in the fight against malaria.
In addition to antimalarials, Doreen also delivers antiretroviral drugs to combat HIV/AIDS, antibiotics, and family planning commodities. While serving as an exemplar of how love can support a community, Doreen is not alone.
As of 2017, Zambia had approximately 2,982 health facilities nationwide — many supported by a community health worker. Each one supported by love.
For more information, please go to: USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program Portal