With just 3 people per square kilometer, the southern African country of Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. While the open desert landscape makes the country strikingly beautiful, it creates huge challenges for delivering health services to the country’s far-flung population.
That’s where Maria Namhindi comes in. Maria, 25, is one of Namibia’s 1,600 community health workers who bridge the gap in health care in the remotest areas of the country.
Traveling long distances on foot from home to home in the Oshana region of Namibia, Maria provides families with a range of services, including first aid, prenatal and antenatal care, immunizations, and HIV and TB prevention. She also refers her patients to clinics who need more specialized care.
I’ve written before about the critical role community health workers play in improving the health care in Africa. In Rwanda and Ethiopia, they were instrumental in dramatically reducing the number of childhood deaths. I’m always inspired by their dedication to improving the lives of their communities.
Thanks to Maria and thousands more like her across the continent, Africa can look forward to a healthier future.