Kilsas Julienne: “Just For The Love Of Humanity!”

The Multitask Community Health Worker responds to all distress calls round the clock - for no pay.

Kilsas Julienne, 57, is one of the 42 trained volunteers or Multitask Community Health Workers serving the Support Project for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Cameroon, PASMNI, in Doume Health District in the East Region. In charge of three neighbourhoods in the little town of Doume with a population of over 1,000 people, Kilsas carries out home visits, handles simple cases of sickness for children and adults, and ensures pregnant women go to hospital for antenatal clinic.

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She also assures that pregnant women run all tests; encourages husbands to also go to hospital in case of infection; and crosschecks children’s vaccination booklets to see which vaccines were skipped. She then notes in her referral book the vaccines still to be administered on the child.

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“The work is much. Each time I hear the sound of a motorbike at night, I prepare to open my door, knowing that an emergency awaits me somewhere. It does not matter what time of the night they come for me. I am always ready to go. But for how much longer will I continue doing it? I cannot say, perhaps, for as long as God grants me the grace,” Kilsas ponders. Having been volunteering already for about 10 years.  

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“I love my job, being a grandmother myself. The training I received also helps me to take care of my family members. I am not paid for the services I render, but I enjoy my job. I love having people around me, showing them, for example, how to prepare enriched pap for babies over six months old,” Kilsas says. Married, she says her husband understands and appreciates what she does. 

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“It is for the love of helping people that I continue to do this work. I make 20 home visits a month and hold two health talks in the community per month. Though I have been offered a bicycle by the project to ease my work, it is not often easy going up steep hills. But I continue to serve my community, just for the love of humanity,” Julienne explains. 

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Her role is also to encourage traditional birth attendants to stop their practice and allow pregnant women go to hospital. In return, the project offers traditional birth attendants who comply a token. “The hospital provides better and safer delivery opportunities, thereby preventing maternal, newborn and children deaths,” Kilsas Julienne counsels, with her trade mark broad smile.

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