January 24, 2023

Leaving no one behind: TASQC reaching out to people living with disabilities: Case of Bulilima

Picture: Bonani USAID funded OPHID/TASQC Community Health Services Nurse visiting Pridegirl (wheelchair bound) and her grandmother (seated next to her)

Pridegirl is a 19-year-old double orphan who lives with her grandmother, Mawan Ncube. Now wheelchair bound, Pridegirl could not walk since the age of five, she had been referred for physiotherapy sessions at Plumtree District hospital with no change, after her parents passed on when she was an infant, her grandmother took over caring for her.

They would both visit the clinic regularly as Pridegirl was having recurrent infections that she would struggle to understand, she would carry her on her back and walk 9km to the nearest health facility, Nswanzwi clinic. Nurses at the health facility resorted to testing her for HIV and she was found to be HIV positive and was linked to ART medicines. As she grew older, she became heavier, and Gogo Ncube had to look for alternative ways to carry her to the health facility for routine check-ups. Being a caring grandmother, firstly, she engaged their neighbours who stayed about 200metres from their homestead to borrow their scotch cart as transport to the clinic, coincidentally there was another neighbour who got ill and his children got him a wheelchair which he never used because he had already passed on when the wheelchair arrived, she then gave them a goat in exchange of the wheelchair which is now old and worn out.  

One cold morning, there was an outreach that was being conducted by the USAID funded OPHID TASQC program, 2km from their homestead, and Pridegirl was taken to that outreach where she was received by Ian Moyo, one of the USAID funded OPHID/TASQC Community Outreach Agents of that catchment area. It is through Mr Moyo that she was linked to the OPHID/TASQC Community Health Services Nurse (CHSN) of that catchment area as well, Bonani Sibanda.

A few days later, Bonani visited the homestead where he initiated Pridegirl on TB preventive therapy and collected her viral load sample, her grandmother was delighted to have viral load and TPT services done at their doorstep and verbalized her relief by saying, “I am delighted to have visitors from OPHID to assist me, I am so happy and may it be so even in the future, I was cracking my head thinking of lifting her into the scotch cart with this back ache”.

For continuity of care, Pridegirl has been registered in a database improvised by the Community Health Service Nurse for his cluster for people living with disabilities and he will be working with Community Outreach Agent, Ian Moyo, to make sure she gets her routine services on time, USAID sponsored OPHID/TASQC CHSN Bonani will be visiting on appointment dates and as per their request and assured the caregiver of this. Going forward, a district wide database of people living with disabilities and those that are not able to navigate to the healthcare facility will be developed so that they get continuous support from the program.

Source: OPHID