Kemba Bakambulu James, 58, is a community outreach officer and HI partner. He lives with his family in their home in the Heraldy district of Selembao, a poor and densely populated area of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He has a motor impairment of the left lower limb, caused by a dislocated hip, and moves around with the help of a crutch. He has been trained by HI’s teams in the prevention, detection and referral of disabilities in mothers and children.
Devoted “community doctor”
Every morning, he visits families to talk to them about disability, prevention measures, and the opportunities provided by HI for the care and school enrollment of children with disabilities. Thanks to his work in the community and the efforts of HI’s teams, local children with disabilities have benefited from rehabilitation care and at-risk pregnant women have been treated in HI's partner health facilities, earning him the title of “community doctor”.
"I can't tell you the joy we bring to families... thanks to this work some couples on the verge of breaking up have been saved. Despite my disability, I feel valued by the community. This work benefits me in two ways: it boosts my self-confidence and I’m held in high esteem by my community, and I’m incredibly grateful to Handicap International for that”.
Raising the awareness of hesitant parents
A tireless worker, James is often asked by his peers to raise the awareness of parents who are reluctant for their children to have the polio vaccine, or to receive care if they are disabled.
James is highly motivated but he experiencing his own has mobility problems, especially on steep trails, and cannot walk long distances with his crutch.
His work with HI has made him feel more valued and empowered - he plans to buy his own property.
Since 2017, HI has implemented a Mother and Child Health (MCH) project in several areas of DRC and encourages communities to take inclusive action on impairment prevention and detection. It also aims to improve the quality of MCH care in general referral hospitals (HGR) and health centres, and to enhance access to health care for pregnant women and children under five.