Heavy Rains and Rough Terrain:

Days in the Lives of Health Care Workers

2020 tested our health workers around the world like never before. A new, very contagious, sometimes deadly disease took a grip on the world, and nurses, doctors, community health workers, and health staff everywhere stepped up to the plate to ensure their communities’ safety. Within DISCOVER-Health, we not only helped the national COVID-19 response, but also made every effort to continue providing essential HIV, family planning, reproductive health, and maternal and child health services. 

This World Health Worker Week, we want to celebrate and profoundly thank our team members, who go the distance and overcome great challenges to deliver health services, as these photos demonstrate. In 2021, we will continue to protect and empower our team members so that together we improve the lives of Zambians through better access to quality care. 

Dr. Muka Chikuba-McLeod, Chief of Party

Cover photo: Health promotion, RMNCH specialists, and ART providers got stuck en route to delivering cervical cancer and pediatric services to rural communities. People from villages nearby came to help and, after one hour, managed to rescue the car.

car stuck in mud

During the rainy season, the rural terrain in Zambia can be increasingly hard to navigate and leaves huge swathes of swampy and sticky mud. In February 2021, ART/TB Specialist Laxford Mashapi (kneeling) and transport and logistics assistant Bupe Chisomo Kasanda had some car trouble due to the mud. They were able to break free and carry out their work collecting viral load samples. 

truck stuck in mud

In January 2021, lab technologists, transport assistants and counselors were headed to collect viral load samples in Chibombo District, Central Province, when their car got stuck in a swamp. This is the road that leads to an area with around 300 ART patients. The team used a winch to eventually rescue their car.

truck stuck in mud with rainbow in the background

Following a heavy downpour on their way back from a day of service delivery in January 2021, a team including data clerks, counselors, ART nurses, a TB specialist and a logistics assistant discovered the Mshanga Bridge in Kabwe District, Central Province, totally submerged in water. With the help of local farmers and a winch, they were able to rescue the car and head home. The team worked extra hours and even over the weekend and holidays to catch up with any rescheduled services during the week due to the terrains or flooded streams.

truck stuck in mud

During the heavy rains in Zambia, many rural health clinics become pretty impossible to reach. In early February 2021, transport and logistics assistant Alphonso Chama attempted to make it through to deliver vital cervical cancer services at the Kachele Health Post in Central Province. The team could not pass through the bad terrain that day, but they rescheduled services for the weekend so that the clients were still seen.