Director and community relay: the two hats of Fishi

For the past few years, Fishi has been committed to reducing the number of child deaths in his community.

Sylvie Kalumbu Lovwa (translated from French by Atholl Simpson)
14 June 2019

"At my school I have incorporated lessons about the promotion of essential family practices such as the use of hygienic latrines and hand washing," said Fishi Pulumbala, director of Ndambi Primary School 2 in Tshikapa, which is in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). For the past few years, Fishi has been committed to reducing the number of child deaths in his community. "I am a school principal and this makes it easier for me to be accepted by the community members," said Fishi, who has become a community relay to ensure that children in his community grow up healthy.

Depuis plusieurs années, Fishi s’est engagé à réduire le nombre des décès d’enfants au sein de sa communauté.

As a community relay, Fishi monitors 25 households on a daily basis. "I make home visits and refer sick children to the health centre," said Fishi, who provides disease surveillance. Fishi also organizes educational talks and answers all the questions and concerns that are submitted to him.

When a case of polio was confirmed in a nearby health zone, Fishi knew he had to act quickly to ensure that all the children got vaccinated. "I made the commitment to educate my community and neighbors about the importance of vaccinating," said Fishi who identifies and gathers the unvaccinated children.

"Thanks to good communication with the parents, no child missed the vaccination," Fishi said proudly.

Thanks to the combined work of the public announcers and community relay, all the identified children were vaccinated against polio in May 2019. By involving people with influence in their community, it is possible to reach a maximum of residents and raise awareness about essential family practices. With the support of the Inter Agency Coordinating Committee (ICC), polio vaccination campaigns and measles outbreak responses are being organized to ensure the children’s health.