Masompenya (Translation: “to focus” or “eyes wide open”)

In Zambia, where there are 0.16 physicians per 1,000 people, community health workers (CHWs) fill an important gap. CHWs are community members that work with health facilities to reach underserved populations with basic healthcare and referral services. Their knowledge and commitment is invaluable; however, they remain overworked and underrepresented in today’s health landscape.

Following the photovoice method, Global Health Corps (GHC) fellows taught basic photography and storytelling techniques to 15 CHWs in Chongwe District, Central Province. Each CHW was given a disposable camera to capture moments in their everyday life that highlight an aspect of their work. Then, CHWs selected photos and wrote accompanying captions to be exhibited to stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health, partner organizations, and donors.

By empowering CHWs to share the stories of their work through photography, GHC fellows hope to highlight value of CHWs as the unsung heroes of public health in Zambia. Further, the experiences of CHWs are crucial for strengthening health systems and need to be accounted for. The photovoice method is one way in which their stories can be told.

Submitted by:
Global Health Corps Zambia (2016/17 Fellows)

9 Kilometres

“One day when I was going around the community I found a woman carrying a sick child. We were 9km from the health centre, so I helped the woman to carry the child by foot. The community feels good about the job that we are doing. We need to continue treating patients in the community.”

Photographer: Rabson Chuya, Community Health Worker, Kampekete Clinic


“This woman is bedridden and cannot get to a health centre. She relies on CHWs like me to access care. It’s painful when I walk away offering nothing but advice to her and others in her situation—not because I do not know what to do, but because I do not have the equipment and tools to do it.”

Photographer: Hildah Malisawa, Community Health Worker, Chainda Clinic

Bicycle Ambulance

“Not having enough money is a problem for both CHWs and the health facilities we help. Sometimes there isn’t enough money for an ambulance but also for us to live our daily lives. We are grateful that we at least have this simple bicycle ambulance.”

Photographer: Alex Mulenga, Community Health Worker, Kanakantapa Clinic

Child Playing

“Two days after delivering medication and health information to a family whose child had diarrhea, I went back to follow up and found him well and playing in the field. It brings me joy and satisfaction when, as a CHW, my work leads to good health and wellbeing.”

Photographer: Annie Mukololwa Pensulo, Community Health Worker, Kampekete Clinic

Unprotected Well

“This woman is drawing water from an unprotected well. In the community there are a lot of people using unsafe water points. As a CHW, I walk long distances to educate them on how to make water safe for drinking.”
Photographer: Kakoma, Community Health Worker, Kanakantapa Clinic