We’re pretty impressed with Nanyanzi Harriet.
“I’ve always wanted to be a doctor; for as long as I can remember" she told us last week. “Just like my father. He was a doctor at Mulago Hospital.” But her father passed away when she was young, she said, and there was never enough money in the family to send her to school.
Much later in life, she joined Living Goods as a Community Health Promoter, and her dream has come true in a roundabout way because of it. We see the proof - everyone she comes across addresses her respectfully with the Luganda word for health worker, Musawo
. As she gracefully escorts us around her quiet community in the sub-county of Nsangi, outside of Kampala, her customers come out of the woodwork.
One woman buys syrup for her cough, another recently bought treatment for her child’s diarrhea, and multiple women proudly walk over to present their newborn babies to their Musawo
They thank Harriet for the services she provided during their pregnancies. “She took care of everything,” says Nahura Sharon, who delivered a healthy baby girl just one month ago. “It was like having a hospital at home.” Sharon also received Living Goods SMS messages advising her on products and services to support her during pregnancy and prepare her for delivery, followed up by post-natal guidance on breastfeeding, nutrition and hygiene. Harriet visited her regularly, keeping a close eye on Sharon’s progress. “In my first pregnancy, this kind of access to a doctor was impossible,” Sharon explains. “You would have to travel far, and the assistance you get at the hospital is not personal. It was very different this time. Musawo
is always available."
Another neighbor, Namulindwa Sarah, has to travel 7 miles to her nearest government hospital for medicine. “The transport is too expensive!” she says. “I have to pay 3,000UGX (1.15 USD) each way, and the hospital is always busy; sometimes you even go and leave without being seen because there are too many people waiting. But Musawo
, she is right here. When my son has diarrhea, she comes to my home, and the treatment of ORS and Zinc only costs me 1,400UGX (.55 US cents).”“This is what I have always wanted,” Harriet says. “To work in my community and help them with their health. I thank God that what I always wanted is now here.”