news from the projects

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By March 2021, a year after Zambia confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19, the cumulative cases had risen to 85,889 and 1,175 had died from COVID-19 and related deaths.

The increase in cases presented other challenges, the health facilities and health professionals were becoming overwhelmed, making it difficult for people to access care in hospitals for COVID-19 itself and other diseases.

The health facilities did not have the capacity to admit all the positives. Patients with mild symptoms were urged to isolate at home, as a means to reduce the burden on the health care system.

In April 2021, DAPP Zambia, with funding from Centre for Diseases Control (CDC) started implementation of the COVID-19 Home Based Care system.

‘’Under the home-based care system, asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients below the age of 60 and without underlying conditions or co-morbidities were cared for at home by families with the support of DAPP Community Health Workers.’’ Says Masiye Banda, a Project Leader for the program.

‘’Community Health Workers were responsible for monitoring the COVID_19 patients through home visits and using Pulse Oximetry and Thermometer.  Clients with stable conditions were monitored through phone calls. We also worked with health facilities to help in locating COVID-19 clients at the community level.’’ Masiye adds.

HBC registration  Patrick Munthali is a Community Health Worker based at Bauleni Clinic in Lusaka. He says once the right conditions are met, he is assigned to provide care, making frequent visits to check progress.

‘’If there are mild symptoms, the patient stays in isolation at home. If they develop moderate symptoms, the officer communicates with a trained health care worker who then decides if a clinician should be sent in to assess if this person must be admitted to a hospital.’’ Says Patrick.

‘’Immediately I tested positive, I was assigned an officer from DAPP who gave me medicine, sprayed my residence as well as sensitized my family on how to live with someone having mild symptoms in the house and how to avoid getting infected. My oxygen levels and temperature were also regularly checked through the visits to my house. ’’ Says Rodrick Mubanga, a beneficiary of the project from Lusaka.

‘’Through constant monitoring by the DAPP community health worker, my condition improved and none of my family members got infected.  I am happy I found this program by DAPP, the knowledge and monitoring of my condition I received were vital to my recovery without infecting my family.’’ Rodrick adds.

DAPP implemented Home based care in Lusaka through six Sub districts namely Chawama, Matero, Chipata, Kanyama, Chilenje and Chelstone working from 28 health facilities between April 2021 and September 2021. In Southern Province, the program was implemented in Livingstone, Kalomo, Choma, Monze and Mazabuka districts at 30 facilities between June and October 2021.

              HBC Table

The project which has since been transitioned to the Ministry of Health was very successful and reduced the burden on the health care system. DAPP wishes to thank the Community Health Workers (68 in Lusaka and 60 in Southern) for the good work.

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