Namulindwa Sarah has to travel seven miles on a bus or on foot to the nearest government hospital. Bus fare is prohibitively expensive, and often lines at the hospital are so long she and her children go home without being seen.
Fortunately, Sarah now has a Musawo in her community. Musawo is the Lugandan word for health worker, a title of respect she and her neighbors give to Nanyanzi Harriet. Harriet is a Community Health Promoter (CHP) for Living Goods, an innovative nonprofit that brings life-saving doorstep healthcare to the world’s most underserved communities through an Avon-like direct sales network.
“I’ve always wanted to be a doctor; for as long as I can remember,” Harriet reports. “Just like my father. He was a doctor at Mulago Hospital.” But her father passed away when she was young, and there was never enough money in the family to send her to school. Much later in life, Living Goods came to Harriet’s community, and she seized the chance to enter the healthcare field. She completed her training and now is a crucial point of contact for healthcare needs in her community.
The women in her community outside Kampala, Uganda thank Harriet for the services she provided during their pregnancies. “She took care of everything,” says Nahura Sharon, who delivered a healthy baby girl. “It was like having a hospital at home.” Harriet visited Sharon regularly, keeping a close eye on her progress and supplied high-quality Living Goods products and services to support a healthy pregnancy. “In my first pregnancy, this kind of access to a doctor was impossible,” Sharon explains. “You would have to travel far, and the assistance you get at the hospital is not personal. It was very different this time. Musawo is always available.” After Sharon delivered her baby, Harriet was there to offer assistance with breastfeeding, nutrition and hygiene.
A recent large randomized controlled trial showed that deaths in children under five decreased by an astounding 25% in communities where Living Goods health promoters like Harriet are present. Besides saving lives, the Living Goods model provides community health promoters with a much needed source of income and helps decrease the presence of over-priced and counterfeit drugs in vulnerable communities. “This is what I have always wanted,” Harriet says. “To work in my community and help them with their health. I thank God that what I always wanted is now here.”
At Go Jane Give, we’re proud to feature the remarkable work of Living Goods. Their unique, sustainable, women-focused model of change is saving lives. Turn your talents into a fundraiser for Living Goods today. (When you select a cause, click on “Support Life-saving Businesses.”)
Photo courtesy of Living Goods