Savior Chikumbi is 20 years old and a school leaver from Wusakile Township in Kitwe. He is a shy, soften spoken young man. Seven months ago, the rugs of TB came into his life like a robber in the night, and took away the joys of his youth.
“I was in pain, so weak that I could not even manage to walk for a long distance”. His eyes are watery as he speaks to me, avoiding eye-contact all the while. But DAPP Zambia’s TB in the Mining Sector in Southern Africa [TIMS] Project Field Officer Prudence Mumba found him and Savior’s route to cure begun just immediately.
“We talked to his parents, and gave him and his family members a talk on TB; from causes, prevention, to care for patients and treatment before we took him to the hospital for a test”, Prudence explained.
Zambia’s 11th National HIV Technical Conference reveals that, TB incidences have fallen from 577 cases per 100,000 people in 2006, to 376 cases per 100,000 in 2016, representing a 35% drop. However, of the 62,000-people estimated to have developed TB in 2016, 12% of them were Children.
“I now have strength and I can work. Before that I would sweat so much, and feeling so weak”, Savior reveals when I met him at his father’s home in Wusakile. He looked beaten but hopeful.
Some of the contributing factors of TB cases are: prolonged exposure to silica dust kicked up by drilling through rock, particularly in underground mining operations because of high quartz concentrations.
“I am so grateful to DAPP TIMS. They have always been there till I got well. They used to come and look after me and give me advice. Even now they still visit me”.
Development Aid from People to People [DAPP] Zambia, as a flag carrier of TIMS active case finding activities in Zambia has made deeper inroads with its works in Kitwe, Chingola, Chililabombwe and Solwezi mining areas since 2016. The project creates a coordinated response to TB cases affecting mineworkers, ex-mineworkers, their families and communities in Zambia.
“Those who suspect that they have TB must go to the clinic and be checked, as TB is deadly. And those who have been found with TB must take medication for a while. People used say that TB can’t be treated, but here I am. I no-longer sweat and I can walk a longer distance without getting tired”, Savior commends.
With its vibrant works among communities in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and partner organizations in the affected mining areas, DAPP Zambia through TIMS project has become a force to reckon with in the intervention measures of prevention, treatment and care of TB cases and patients respectively.