Hold Tight to Life


Christine Mutesi, 29, holds her daughter, Josephine Nakalembe, 2 years 8 months, who might have died from typhoid if not for village health worker, Matthew Nyanzi, right.

In Uganda, World Vision works with village health workers—two per village—to train them to do their jobs better. The village health team members are volunteers, elected by the community. They are the front line of health services for villagers.

Matthew Nyanzi, 40, works with the family of Christine Mutusi, 29, in Kiboga District. Christine is the mother of three children, Bridget, 8, Flavia, 4, and Josephine, 2. Matthew visits often.

“We tell him our issues,” says Christine. “He encourages us. I trust him because he cares about us. We have trouble with malaria, cough, upset stomach, and diarrhea. When he sees I can’t handle a situation, he writes what to do on a piece of paper.”

Matthew saved Josephine’s life last year.

“Josephine had malaria,” explains Christine. “Matthew couldn’t detect malaria, but the signs were there. He advised a dose, but the child was not healing. It turns out she had typhoid. He took me to the hospital.

“When they tested Josephine, she had typhoid. If Matthew hadn’t been here, it would have been bad.”

Matthew says what he’s learned from World Vision’s Radio Distance Learning Program has helped him improve as a village health worker.

“We were trained on how to care for the children,” he says. “When a child doesn’t improve, we should take them to the hospital.” 

Matthew is one of 9,094 village health workers trained by World Vision in Uganda.

Photo©2014 World Vision, Jon Warren

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