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ZAMFAM making a difference in Kabwe, Zambia

DAPP Zambia is implementing the Zambia Family South-Central (ZAMFAM) project reaching over 125,000 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) per year for five years, with comprehensive life changing activities.

The goal of the project is to improve the care and resilience of orphans and vulnerable children living with or affected by HIV by supporting, protecting, and strengthening the capacity of children, families, and communities. ZAMFAM started in January 2016 and is funded by USAID.

The ZAMFAM project uses the Humana People to People developed Child Aid’s holistic approach in community mobilisation and locals’ active participation. The approach engages children and youth, caregivers, community groups, teachers and local leaders, creating many frontiers for tackling community problems with a main focus on increased utilisation of the available resources.

ZAMFAM is working closely with the Zambian government ministries, Community Welfare Assistant Committees (CWACs) as well as with the District Welfare Assistant Committees (DWACs), and 600 Community Health Workers (CHWs).

The project partners with Creative Associates International which has the main responsibility to build capacity in sub-grantees as well as with Network for Zambian People living with HIV (NZP+), KAFHI and additional 13 local NGOs and CBO’s.

We share with you a life changing story of how DAPP Zambia is engaging Community Health Workers in universal access to health in rural Zambia. One such health worker is Mary Chabola, who is part of the ZAMFAM project activities in Kabwe district.

Mary Chabola is a 56-year-old lady of Kasanda community in Kabwe district. She has been a Community Health Worker (CHW) attached to Kasanda clinic for 6 years now since 2012.

Mary was recruited as a ZAMFAM Community Health Worker in June 2016 when the project was first introduced to her community.

When Mary was asked to explain more about her experience in working with ZAMFAM, she was not shy to say that the experience was totally different compared to the other projects she had previously worked with as a CHW. Mary explained that, “The ZAMFAM project is unique because it uses a holistic approach in trying to improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families. The project does not only focus on improving health, but also works towards improving their nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Health Education (WASHE), and economic strengthening”.

“Upon recruitment as a CHW under the ZAMFAM project, I went through an orientation and my capacity was built in HIV testing and Counselling, Behavior Change Communication and WASHE and as a good nutrition advocate”, Mary said.

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She further narrated that, “using my skills built by ZAMFAM and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, I have a catchment of 30 households having a total of 150 children. Of these children, I have already counselled their families and tested 100 children for HIV and AIDS, of which 5 have been found HIV positive.” Mary went on to explain that, “The 5 children that were found HIV positive have since been linked to Kasanda ART clinic and are all receiving medication.”

Mary recalls that, all the 5 children tested HIV positive where below the age of 14 and had a very low CD4T cell count at the time and looked unhealthy. “I encouraged their families to join the ZAMFAM Action Group so that they could learn more on how they could improve their health and welfare of their children. After about 12 months, the children are all looking healthy and are actively participating in both social and academic activities.”

Through home visits to households in Kasanda Community, Mary is reaching out to households with information on Behavior Change in order to prevent other children from getting infected with HIV and AIDS. “Through these visits I also talk to the families about the importance of eating healthy foods, having back yard gardens and the importance of observing good water and sanitation practices.”