Mary Kunda and her son Nicholas walk 4km to the Mushota Rural Health Clinic in Northern Zambia once a month to get their Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) medication.
Mary and her husband are both HIV positive and although she took preventative measures, as advised by local health workers, it is possible that Nicholas may have the virus.
Now one and a half, Nicholas will remain on a strict check-up regimen and continue to take medication until the age of five when he will be tested again to confirm or denounce the first ruling of positive.
Through funding from the Zambian Governance Foundation, Action Africa Help Zambia has worked with the community to develop several programs to reduce deaths related to pregnancy and HIV.
Mushota Rural Health Clinic, one of three in Kawambwa District that AAH Zambia works with, has seen a drastic shift in the community since Safe Motherhood Action Groups (SMAG) were started. Close to 1,500 mothers are being assisted each year by the three clinics.
“We have seen an 80% rise in the amount of mothers who come to the facility to give birth. This has greatly reduced both the maternal and child mortality rate in the area.” Said clinic secretary Immanuel.
This number is directly proportional to the 80% decrease in mothers who have died while giving childbirth in the last year.
“We are trying to sensitize the community on the benefits of coming to the clinic for delivery. Now many of them want to come, but there is still the issue of transport, so there are some that want to come but can’t.” Immanuel said.
Mushota is also a referral clinic which attracts some of the more difficult cases in the area. Immanuel said that on average people walk 10 km to reach the facility, but some of the harder cases can travel up to 50 km to seek assistance. Mushota is also the only clinic within a 20 km radius that offers HIV medication.
Mary and Nicholas are doubly thankful for the Mushota clinic for both it’s labor room and the availability of HIV medication.
“I’m not worried about Nicholas because the facility is close by and they take care of us,” Mary said.