Volunteers supporting health workers in the fight against tuberculosis (TB) in Rumphi have hailed the donation of bicycles by Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Southern Africa Trust (SRHR SAT) which they say will ease their transport challenges.
The volunteers made the remarks on Thursday when they received the bicycles donation and other assorted items including soap and buckets at Rumphi Water Office.
One of the volunteers, Thokozile Gondwe from Buwira in the district said she and her team under Buwira Community Based Organization (CBO) have been struggling to reach distant communities to collect sputum for testing due to transport constraints.
“We only had one bicycle for the whole group which made our work very difficult. I remember one time I had to walk for close to three hours to collect sputum at Vongo on the Mzimba side because a colleague was using our only bicycle.
“These bicycles will enable us to reach many communities without much difficulty,” she said.
SRHR SAT Project officer, Clifton Mulowa said the donations have been made to revamp several community structures working in the fight against TB, HIV, and cholera which were disrupted by COVID-19 disease.
Director of Planning and Development for Rumphi District Council, Frank Mfune said the donation is handy for youth clubs and CBOs that have been lacking support to fight HIV, TB, and Cholera.
He further said the soap and buckets received will enable communities to continue practicing safety measures against Cholera and COVID-19.
The total donation includes 1568 packets of liquid soap, 1008 tablets of soap, 23 bicycles, 10167 reusable face masks, 17 plastic tables, 17 plastic chairs, 1540 hand sanitizer, and 311 buckets, all valued at K23 million.
The donation was funded by Global Fund through the Ministry of Health and ActionAid under the COVID-19 Response Mechanism to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on other disease programs such as HIV, TB, and Malaria.