by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communictions Coordinator 28.06.2023
There is a wise African Proverb that says “If you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go far go together.”
We often quote this proverb in our Communication Department because collaboration is such an important part of what we do. While visiting the MMM project in Tanzania we saw how well the MMM Sisters extend their impact in the community through not only MMM Staff but also through the help of community workers. MMM Sisters tend to work in very remote areas and with vulnerable people who would otherwise not have any services. Our MMM Mission projects are often the only service option for people and without the MMMs the people would have no way of getting services due to a lack of transportation or funds – it’s not easy for a very sick or terminally ill patient to get to cities that have medical options.
Recently I got to see how very remote many of the MMM Services actually are, and how hard the roads can be on the journey. We were fortunate to meet some of the community workers who extend the reach of the MMM in small rural communities which are often very remote from other services. One of the community workers I was witnessing at work with a small child who had spina bifida oversaw 20 families in his area. He checks in on the families and patients to see how they are doing and to make sure they have the resources they need for the patient.
He said that the families he saw had terminal or chronic conditions including stroke, HIV, Cardiac issues, retinoblastoma and chronic skin diseases. If he sees that the patient is in need of services he then will refer them. He serves as a conduit between the family and the MMMs. He also plays an important role in that the families know him and they feel they are being cared about even when times are very difficult. He keeps a log of the days and times he was visiting each person and how they were.
One of the challenges the community health workers face is keeping in contact with people, especially children, who may be moved around and not stay in one place for long. A lack of resources is one issue dying or chronically ill people face but another is loneliness. We met a lot of orphans living with grandparents and also widows left alone to cope. The Community worker is an important part of the MMM family who can extend the healing charism further to people struggling. Paid a small stipend for their time and commitment, the Community Worker brings tremendous value to the MMMs and the many patients they serve. Collaboration is key to allowing us to go far, not to just go fast.
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