Community Health Worker Spotlight: Agness Ndulubila, Mulobezi District


Community Health Worker Spotlight

Meet Agness Ndulubila, Mulobezi District

Agness Ndulubila has served as a volunteer community health worker (CHW) for 23 years. With a health system hindered by a shortage of doctors and other health workers, CHWs in Mulobezi District are essential in their communities. Many villagers live great distances from health facilities and lack transport to reach them. Frontline health workers like Mrs. Ndulubila are often the first, and sometimes only, providers of health services to test and treat for malaria.

Mrs. Ndulubila lost her second born daughter to malaria. “This is what motivated me to get involved and educated about health, specifically malaria,” she said. “I was so proud to be chosen by my community as a health worker. Wherever I go, people praise me as a doctor.”

She cares for four nearby villages, assisting her neighbors and those in surrounding communities, to diagnose and treat malaria. In rural Mulobezi, Mrs. Ndulubila is a lifeline between the community members and the health facility center some eight miles away. Community health workers invest their efforts in their home area where they know the residents and are deeply aware of the health issues affecting their communities.

Mrs. Ndulubila attends to 10- 20 people per day. Many people present with fever and vomiting – symptoms of malaria but also of other infections – so she has been trained to administer a rapid test to see if malaria parasites are in the blood.

The community had a lot of problems because they did not know how to look for signs of malaria. “We used to have many malaria cases; many people were dying; countless others were getting sick.” Mrs. Ndulubila recounted how the disease affected the community: people were not able to farm, and pupils were not able attend school.

“Now we are able to test and treat community members,” continued Mrs. Ndulubila. We educate them on how to take the drugs, emphasizing on finishing the course. My major role in fighting malaria has been educating the people on how they can prevent malaria by consistent use of treated mosquito nets and spraying of homes. I teach people that they can get malaria all year round; hence, they must use mosquito nets all year round”.

In Inyambo, a village served by Mrs. Ndulubila, malaria, diarrhea and malnutrition cause the majority of illnesses and deaths.

“There are many people who would have died because of the distance to the nearby health facility. In delaying treatment, many people would deteriorate or die. Having drugs and being able to test in the community has helped a lot.” said Mrs. Ndulubila.

Mrs. Ndulubila reflected first-hand on the impact of the availability of local malaria prevention and treatment services: “There were too many deaths and too much sickness; people were unable to farm and find food. We spent a lot of time attending funerals and tending to sick people. I used to conduct about 30 malaria tests, and about 27 would be positive for malaria. These days it’s the opposite, out of 10 tests you will find maybe only 1 positive for malaria. This is a good sign that malaria is on the decline and it is possible for a malaria free Zambia by 2021.”

National Health Week

Zambia’s annual National Health Week showcases the health interventions and services prioritized by Ministry of Health (MOH) and partners. ‘Promoting wellness for All’ was this year’s theme. The President of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Changwa Lungu, flagged off the event, flanked by the Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, the Lusaka Provincial Minister, Mr. Bowman Lusambo, and the Lusaka Mayor, Mr. Miles Sampa. President Lungu visited the National Malaria Elimination Centre (NMEC) tent where he was tested for malaria by a community health worker from Chipata clinic, posed for pictures in the Malaria Ends With Me photo frame, and booted the ‘kick out malaria’ football. NMEC Director Dr. Mutinta Mudenda personally showed the President and his entourage the exhibited malaria interventions.

World Malaria Day 2019

World Malaria Day commemorations took off on the Copperbelt in Zambia on April 26 at St. Mary’s Rural Health Centre in Lufwanyama.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, served as guest of honor. Zambia’s national slogan “Malaria Ends With Me” served as the theme for the event. According to the most recent Malaria Indicator Survey, Lufwanyama District has seen a resurgence in malaria cases since 2015. This was a major reason for the area being chosen for the commemoration.

Several activities took place in the area prior to the commemoration. Dr. Chilufya and the MoH team were able to visit a nearby health center to talk with staff and community health workers. Multiple community meetings took place to introduce community health workers to the communities they serve. Several walls were also branded with the Malaria Ends With Me Slogan with help from Plascon paint company. Check out some highlights below!

We are in Lufwanyama today because it is one of the pockets of this country where malaria has gone up. We are going to increase community surveillance and empower our community health workers with information and skills. Malaria will only end if everyone understands their role in the fight to eliminate malaria.
— Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, Minister of Health
After delivering a speech in both English and the local language, Dr. Chilufya unveiled the 2018 Malaria Indicator Survey.

After delivering a speech in both English and the local language, Dr. Chilufya unveiled the 2018 Malaria Indicator Survey.

World Malaria Day 2018

World Malaria Day 2018

Zambia joined other countries worldwide in commemorating this year’s World Malaria Day (WMD) on 25th April, 2018, under the theme "Ready to Beat Malaria", and Zambia's accompaining slogan, "Malaria Ends with Me". Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partners united their advocacy efforts in commemorating this event.