Today we will speak with a woman who found a way to solve her problem. Her name is Mama Lillian. Mama Lillian was very worried about the health of her children. They didn’t seem to have as much energy as some of the other children. She decided to organize a child health care clinic in her village with a group of other women. You will learn how the women held meetings, made decisions and worked together so that they could accomplish the goals they set.
Mama Lillian lives in the country of Tanzania in a province named Rukwa. In Rukwa it is not easy to get health care. There are only three small hospitals far away from most people’s homes. This is a problem for everyone, but especially for young children who get sick often. And many new babies die because there is no health care available. A few years ago, one of the children who died was the daughter of a woman named Mama Lillian.
Please, Mama Lillian, I know it is difficult, but can you tell us what happened?
Some of the women looked after the children while others made bricks for the building or carried water and sand. Mama Lillian kept records of how much money they needed and how much they spent. Some local businesses donated cement. All the women helped. After about two months of hard work they had built a small clinic and saved enough money to purchase a weighing scale for children.
The next step was to inform the other women in the village about the new child health clinic.
Contributed by: Elinor Bray-Collins, Researcher/Writer, Toronto, Canada.
Reviewed by: Helen Hambly Odame, Research Officer, International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR), The Hague, The Netherlands
This story is adapted from a research project completed by the author with the African Medical Research Foundation in Tanzania.
Report on Rukwa Region Community-Based Health Care Project — Phase Two, African Medical Research Foundation, July 1995.
Report on Participation of Women in the Community-Based Health Care Project, Rukwa — Phase Two, African Medical Research Foundation, October 1995.
althy Children of Today are the Healthy Children of Tomorrow,” V. P. Kimati, Public Lecture, Tanzania Public Health Association, Sept. 1988.
Statistics: United Republic of Tanzania, Bureau of Statistics, 1988 Population Census, Volume VIII.