Born in Phiva at Mpumalanga, Vusimuzi Msibi, always knew that he was destined to care for those around him. The first of four siblings, Vusi had to take on the responsibilities of his parents after they passed away.

“I am a mother, father and brother to those left with me,” he says. His passion for helping others would later see the team leader of the Bashise Ndlondlo Grow Great Champions (GGC) team obtain his Nursing qualification in 2009 and he says it’s something that he had always wanted to do.

“Nursing has been part of me since I was born, so today I’m doing what I love. I was lucky to be admitted to the nursing college to pursue my studies.”

Asked about his biggest accomplishment to date, he says he can’t think of a particular one but that he considers every patient healed – physically or otherwise – a major achievement.

He enjoys being part of Mzinti’s Ward Based Outreach Team (WBOT), as he sees it as an
extension of the work he does beyond the clinic.

“WBOTs are an extension of the clinic. We extend a hand to those who are unable to visit the clinic for whatever reason by visiting them at home and caring for the vulnerable such as child-headed households. We provide care for children under five, post and antenatal care, encourage early clinic bookings for pregnant women, and adherence to medication, among other responsibilities.”

Vusi beams with pride when he starts to speak about his team members and the close relationship they have.

“The fact that they named our team after my clan name shows that they regard me as a mentor and that makes me happy. One thing I love about our team is the respect we all have for each other. They show me respect despite me being younger than them. I also love that they are always trying their best to help the community; they are also willing to learn – always.”

These, along with hard work, are attributes that he believes resulted in them ending the year as Mpumalanga’s top GGC team, and being invited to the
awards ceremony in Johannesburg.

“I was happy for them [when they won] because I knew it would encourage them to work harder and that would make them winners. They did not rest last year and
they are now doing what is more than required of them because they are determined to win again. I normally tell them to work hard and take any opportunities that present

Just like the team he leads, he was grateful for the opportunity to attend the awards ceremony and the chance to meet with his colleagues from across the country is one he will forever cherish.

“The coming together of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and the winning teams was what I liked the most about the awards ceremony; it was a great opportunity
for us to get to know each other.

“For all of my team members, it was their first time riding in a luxury bus and I felt really happy for them. It hardly ever happens that we meet our colleagues from other provinces. We used to have a CHW Indaba in Mpumalanga but that hasn’t happened in years.”

The work he loves so much is not without hurdles, however, and the lack of transport is the biggest.

“We share cars and sometimes we’ll be unable to visit patients because someone else has the car. Transport is the biggest challenge. But the rest of the challenges are ones we can solve. We meet every week and we discuss things. Those who have challenges will let the group know and we’ll try to find a solution. I often accompany them to the household they are having challenges with for a follow-up visit.”

Vusi feels that GGC has brought positive changes to his community and that there is now greater awareness of stunting. He remains hopeful that the prevalence of stunting can be reduced in South Africa.

“CHWs are now able to measure the length and weight of young children. Sometimes community members will be reluctant to take kids to clinic because they feel what we do
is enough, but we always encourage them to take their kids there even after we’ve paid them visits.

“It’s important that they know that their kids are growing well. Stunting can be eradicated as long as CHWs continue doing what they do. They should continue referring children that might be at risk to clinics or hospitals.”

Personally, Vusi would like to further his studies in nursing by enrolling for a BCur qualification. He says that any GGC team can achieve what his team did by being diligent and selfless.

“They [other teams] must always remember that the work we do is not about you as a CHW, but helping the community. You must always have the community at