I am a community health volunteer from Batuisa. If any accidents happen, they usually call me to see if I can help. But the road to my place is very bad. Here, we don’t have cars, we only use bicycles. If anybody is sick and you want to carry them to the health centre, especially a pregnant women—she is in pain — then you have to carry her with the bicycle. The road is not fine, there are potholes. By the time you get that person to the clinic, she is tired, and even pushing the child to come out is a problem for that woman. With a good road, it will be faster to send the person, and if there are no potholes, I don’t think she will suffer as much.
One day they called me to bring a pregnant woman to the clinic. We were on the way with my bicycle, and she started to deliver on the way, but the placenta was not coming out. We called the ambulance, but unfortunately it was at Sandema Hospital (far away). And the bike broke, so I had to run to town and bring a vehicle so we could bring the woman with us to the clinic, to the midwife. The woman, she delivered very well.
Health insurance is a challenge, too. Once a woman fell sick, and after about three days, they came and told me. So I visited her to see how her condition was. It was very bad, and I decided to bring her to the hospital. But she had no health insurance, so she did not want to come, because without the health insurance, you can’t pay the bill. I had to talk to her, to bring her to the clinic, to collect her card and go to Sandema and renew it and bring it to her, so that they will attend to her. It was a long distance. I asked her why she did not have health insurance. She said it was because of the yearly renewal. Every year you have to renew, and she did not have money.
And that’s what I normally do. At times I go around and ask if anybody has a card and it has expired, I have to take it. Because they do not want to go because of the bus fare. So if I am going to Sandema to do something, I collect the cards, take them there and renew them and bring them back.
If we get a small clinic in this town and if we have a nurse there, it will help. When someone is sick, we can send them there. And if the problem is serious, we can refer them to the hospital. Otherwise right now, when someone is sick they lie down saying, no, I can’t walk to the clinic in town, it’s too far away.
This blog post was originally featured at www.one.org/africanvoices