Peter Zulu* (not his real name) has been an artisanal small-scale miner for the past 6 years in his home area in Sikhule village, Lower Gweru. He also had a fishing project, in 2021, he stopped all his business ventures due to ill health. Peter had started coughing, with dyspnoea, for some time, he had weight loss and night sweats. His situation got worse in August 2021 and he went to Makepesi clinic at the advice of his siblings. His sputum tested positive for TB. However, the tablets that he received gave him joint pains, backache and extreme hunger, which he reported to the clinic nurse.
Within a few days, Lindie Mpofu a Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) village health worker (VHW) who works with HOSPAZ partner JHWO under the KNTB project, was assigned to visit him. By that time, he could hardly walk. His elder sister (Eliah Mabhena) took him to her household comprising of 6 other family members for support. Lindie ensured that all the contacts living at Eliah’s home were screened for TB, they all tested negative.
As a palliative care-trained community health worker, Lindie offered treatment adherence support, gave health education on treatment side effects, discussed the family’s socio-economic issues, for which she provided counselling and also assisted the sister with household chores, while teaching her about infection control.
Peter’s sister Ms Mabhena, was very grateful for all the support she was receiving from the community health worker, “When my brother fell sick, I never thought he would survive to this day. I will always be grateful to her support.” Due to the palliative care support that Peter was receiving from his sister in partnership with the CHW, Peter’s health improved and could walk on his own without any assistance.
Ms Mabhena’s major challenge is ensuring food security for the household, especially for the patient. Although she joined a community vegetable garden project along with 30 other members with support from the Agritex officer, she still needs more to meet Peter’s nutritional needs.