Some of the best moments of this project occur when we least expect them, many of them in the field. This is where the real story is taking place. We had a number of these moments during our visit to Katete a couple of weeks ago (3/12/12). Now that the retailers are engaged, the promoters are running educational events at the community level, caregivers are becoming more aware, and the kits have really started moving, some really great stories have started to emerge. While we are working hard to capture key findings and lessons learned through rigorous scientific evaluation, we always make a point of trying to capture some of the real-life stories of the people we meet along the way. These are the stories that tend to stick and leave a lasting impression on us. They bring another level of reality to the population level data we are gathering and remind us of why we are here.
Simon, Albert and I departed Lusaka around 11am on Sunday (2/12/12) in the Land Rover and talked “ColaLife shop” and philosophy most of the way there, as we often do. Now that the rains have started, things are starting to get nice and green, so the remainder of the ride was spent taking in the changing landscape.
The rains loom | The view from behind our lodgings
Women selling dried bream | Grabbing a quick bite of chicken and chips en route to Katete
We checked in at Beenzu (“Visitors”) Lodge, where I also stayed during baseline, had a nice supper of Bream and Nshema prepared by our hosts, and prepped for the next day.
In the morning, we met up with Elias and set off for Kazika, a small village in the Northern part of the District. Kazika is where we recruited our most recent retailer and it’s over 20km in any direction to a health centre. This means that access to healthcare for the people living in this community is very limited. We had a chance to meet with the retailer for the community, the promoter, as well as a mother who had used the kit. Simon also had a chance to take one of our promoter’s bikes for a spin!
One of the highlights of the trip happened on the way to Kazika, when we stopped in the village of Sogela. There, we had the opportunity to speak with Tasila Phiri, a mother Simon had met during his last trip. Tasila told us about how her daughter Dialess had had diarrhoea for months and how she then discovered Kit Yamoyo. Here is Tasila telling us about her experience:
The rest of the trip was filled with visits to some of our Kit Yamoyo retailers, like this gentleman
who told us stories of very satisfied mothers/customers and how Kit Yamoyo was a product he was looking forward to continue to sell. He also noted that some of the mothers had told him they thought the ORS in the kits was stronger than what they were getting from the health centre. This was interesting to us, and it is hard to say exactly why they thought that.
Is it because of the addition of zinc to the treatment regimen?
Is it just perception?
Is it because they paid for it and therefore associate greater efficacy with the drugs?
Is it because of the fact that it is being mixed in the correct concentrations due to the Aidpod acting as a measuring, mixing and drinking vessel? (Although the 20g ORS sachets from the health centre are to be mixed with 1L of water, mothers often don’t have an effective measurement tool to do so. The retailer told us that most mothers use a commonly available bottle (that he picked up from behind his counter to show us) that measures 1.5 Litres.
Overall a fantastic trip, and a positive indication that we are well on our way. I thought I’d leave you with some more images from our time in the field . . .
And finally . . you’ve heard of Where’s Waldo . . . try Where’s Kit Yamoyo!