“I watched Nellie almost daily take her medicine and kept track of her calendared medicine in-take,” Richard recalls. “Each time, before Nellie ran out of her medicine that was supplied to her, I would catch a bus to the district health facility in Kwikila Town to fetch more supplies.”
Richard is one of two ChildFund-trained VHVs in Nellie`s village. Village health volunteers are critical in PNG communities where access to medical assistance and information can be hours away.
Health volunteers serve many roles in their communities. They often aid birth attendants, distribute anti-malarial medicine and bed-nets, conduct nutrition check-ups, administer vaccinations in children under five, provide family planning information and advice and collect community health data.
ChildFund PNG, thanks to support from the English Family Foundation, has provided TB related services to more than 8,470 people in Papua New Guinea.
Now that she is well, Nellie is helping Richard and ChildFund PNG to halt the spread of TB by raising awareness of the disease in her village. This is part of a wider campaign called Stop TB in my Lifetime. ChildFund is working in partnership on this program with World Vision, the National TB program and Central Provincial Health.
As for Richard, one day he hopes to achieve his dream of becoming an accredited community health worker. Until then he will continue to support his village and help keep people like Nellie healthy.