A proud Lufani and her  daughter Trisha at the  construction site of their  new house
A proud Lufani and her daughter Trisha at the construction site of their new house

Linking Households and Individuals to Lifesaving Services: Lufani and Trisha Ali's Story

May 10 2018

Meet Lufani Ali, a 23-year-old single mother of two currently living with her mother in Kammata village in Chileka. With a forlorn look, she reminisces about how sick her daughter was last year: “My child was dying and no one knew what to do.”

Without any real source of income, Lufani and her children lived a vulnerable life relying on menial jobs to feed the family.

In December 2016, her youngest daughter Trisha, who was 15 months old at the time, suddenly fell ill. She struggled with abdominal pains and lack of appetite. She was diagnosed with malaria when she visited the nearby hospital.

Lufani was given malaria drugs and painkillers to aid her daughter’s recovery. However, Trisha only got worse. The once lively and energetic young child became so weak she lost her ability to walk or crawl. Once more, Lufani rushed to the hospital, where she was given more malaria drugs and painkillers for Trisha. Lufani explained, “The drugs were not helping. I could see my daughter wasting away. She was getting thinner and thinner every day.”

This was when CRP Felia Gobodoza visited the Ali household. She assessed Trisha and counseled Lufani. The two were referred to Chileka Health Centre for HIV testing. Lufani sadly recounts, “I was afraid but I knew I had to do it if my child had any chance of survival. We were tested and both our results came back negative. The doctor gave us more malaria drugs and sent us back home.”

For Lufani going home was not an option, Trisha’s illness had gotten so severe she was fainting on average three times a day. She went back to the health facility and pleaded with the One Community referral and linkage facilitator Esime Kuleya for further assessment on the matter. Esime referred Lufani and Trisha to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, approximately 12 Miles from Chileka Health Centre, there Trisha was diagnosed with severe malnutrition and anemia. She was placed on supplements immediately and given blood transfusions. Lufani recalls, “We were in the hospital for three days. But, in those days, I saw quick improvements.”

Upon discharge, Lufani and a livelier Trisha went back to their home in Chileka where CRP Felia Gobodoza visited them daily to monitor Trisha’s progress. Felia further referred them to Chileka Health Centre where they were enrolled in a nutritional program.

“When we first got there Trisha was 15 months old and weighed 7.2 kgs. She still could not walk. Six weeks later, when we were graduating from the program, my daughter was 9.7kgs. She was also given walking exercises and was slowly regaining her ability to move.”

However, despite the improvement in Trisha’s health, the household endured multiple costs that left them facing extreme poverty. Lufani, who used to rely on menial labour to care for her children, could no longer do this. She depended heavily on well-wishers to provide her with sustenance, food and supplies.

In March 2017, CRP Felia enrolled Lufani into a Tiyanjane Limodzi Village Savings and Loans group. In efforts to assist her in regaining economic stability, Lufani invested MK 3,500 (USD 4.70) and took a loan for MK 5,000 (USD 6.80) to buy potatoes, cooking oil and a chips stand. Lufani started a chip selling business, from which she earns a profit of MK 12,000 (USD16.40) a week. With this money, she has been able to feed her family and is now building a house which she hopes to move into with her family.

Glowing with happiness, Lufani exclaims, “Life is much better for us now. I am standing here with my healthy daughter in my hands. I am building my house and I am forever grateful.”

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