Giving vulnerable people better housing

For over three years, Simeon Tigone has been experiencing a hard-life in his single-room grass-thatched house in Lembani Village, T/A Symon in Neno. In the rainy season, he would rarely sleep due to the leaking roof. In summer, the dusty floor gave him frequent coughs.

Being on TB treatment, Tigone’s life in such an uninhabitable house exposed him to more illnesses that counter-attacked the efficiency of the life-prolonging drugs. Moreover, he has been living in fear that the rickety walls might fall on him one day.

“I felt like I was living in hell,” says the 47-year-old, who has been living alone since 2008 when his wife deserted him after being admitted to Lisungwi Community Hospital for over a month.

“All sorts of illnesses such as malaria and persistent coughs have been pestering me, not knowing that the condition of my house was also contributing to my suffering,” he says.

Nevertheless, Pagone’s life has now changed for the better as he has been built a decent two bed-roomed house through Partners in Health’s (PIH) patients housing support initiative.

The initiative is within the organisation’s Programme on Social and Economic Rights (Poser) which provides social and economic accessories to the most vulnerable patients (HIV and TB patients) in Neno District in order to address the causes of diseases.

Apart from the patients’ housing support scheme, the Poser programme also aims at improving the living conditions of patients and other vulnerable populations in Neno with comprehensive services in areas of school support, micro finance, vocational support and other social support services in an effort to reduce the burden of diseases and stress for patients in the district.

“We established this initiative after realising that the delivery of health care to patients is not just giving them medical drugs but also creating an environment that can help to make their lives better.

“Sometimes, many people lose their lives because we tend to ignore some simple things that make significant changes in life such as proper housing and hygiene,” said Dr Junior Bazile, PIH’s director of community health.

According to T/A Symon, PIH’s patients housing support initiative is the best way to go in caring for vulnerable patients whose lives get onto the knife edge due to ramshackle dwelling places, especially in the underdeveloped districts like Neno.

He said proper and strong houses give patients dignity and peaceful state of mind for their prospects to quick recovery.

“When patients sleep in dilapidated houses, particularly, during stormy rains, they stop fearing death that comes through their illnesses and get horrified by the risk of dying in the rubble after the fall of their houses,” said the traditional chief.

He added that the initiative has brought hope to the hopeless and gave a fighting spirit to those that gave up faith in life to believe in life again.

PIH’s Poser programme coordinator Victor Kanyema said the patients housing support scheme is carried out in all the areas of the district’s seven traditional authorities for 69 vulnerable patients.

“The construction of the patients’ house is still in progress. So far, we have managed to build 35 decent houses for patients in the area of T/A Symon alone. It is a project that is done hand in hand with the villagers who contribute through the moulding of bricks,” Kanyema said.

Share This Post