"Better health in my community:" A Community Health Worker in Burundi

Jessica Nipp Hacker

Filip Ndabihaze is a community health worker in the Mwiruzi community, or "colline," of the Cankuzo province in Burundi. According to Filip, a community health worker's job is to "give counseling about HIV and AIDS, also tuberculosis, coughing, diarrhea, and we teach people about good hygiene around the house."

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When the Lutheran malaria program came to the Cankuzo​ province, Filip was able to add malaria knowledge to the resources he provides to his community. 

"I was trained in malaria prev​​ention and control through the Lutheran malaria program," Filip relates.  "Now for my job, I go all over the colline to talk to people about cleaning up the environment, removing standing water [where mosquitoes breed] and sleeping under mosquito nets. People call me to come and give them advice when they are sick.  If I think they have malaria, I advise them to go to the health center to get testing and treatment.  When the patient is a pregnant woman, I accompany her to the clinic.  If it is a strong man, he can go by himself.  If someone is very sick, we make a stretcher in the traditional way, and we carry the person to the clinic."

"With the arrival of the Lutheran malaria program," Filip continues, "something valuable was added.  We received more trainings, better knowledge, and reinforcement of what we had already learned.  Because of the Lutheran program, we are now better trained to deal with the problem of malaria. It is a good partnership."

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"I really like my job," Filip says, "because it includes sensitizing my brothers and sisters, and it results in better health in my community."