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How access to healthcare and medicine keeps people out of poverty

Jacob Hamwendo is a domestic labourer living in Mtendere township in Zambia. At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zambia, Jacob began to feel unwell and began presenting symptoms associated with COVID-19, including a blocked nose, headache and fever. He had been unwell and unable to work for 3 days before he was able to visit a clinic.

After 3 days of feeling unwell, Jacob was able to visit a free clinic supported by HPIC and run by our partners, Working with Orphans and Widows (WOW). At the clinic, Jacob was diagnosed by a medical officer who prescribed him with medication at no cost. Fortunately for Jacob, he did not have COVID and was able to resume his work the next day thanks to the medication he was prescribed. Had he not been able to visit a clinic, he would have potentially been out of work for 14 days.

Jacob’s story is similar to many others in Zambia and Malawi who at the height of the global pandemic began experiencing body aches and flu symptoms. However, unlike Jacob, they were not able to access a doctor and cannot afford medication. For people who rely on a daily wage to get by, being out of work for even just a few days can be devastating.

By providing free healthcare, HPIC’s Access to Medicine program ensures that those who cannot afford medicines are still able to access treatment they need to avoid long-term disruptions to their daily lives and income.

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