About four months ago I declared Tuesdays, clinic day. Every Tuesday, anyone in need of medical attention is invited to meet at the village centre for transportation to the nearest (a 2 1/2 hour walk!) health care facility. We are fortunate, in Mbayi , to have access to a government clinic which provides good quality basic health care services. Staffed by four clinical officers (they train for 3 years- then graduate- with future doctors who proceed for another 4 years of medical training) displaying, in my opinion, excellent diagnostic skills and much kindness and patience towards patients, along with nurses and a lab technician, patients are tested and treated for a wide variety of complaints/diseases such as TB, malaria, HIV/AIDS, cholera, hypertension, flu etc. Immunizations for children are also provided and since it is estimated that 1 in 6 children in Zambia dies before their fifth birthday, many from hunger and diseases that could be prevented or successfully treated, this service is essential to their survival and healthy development. Despite good staff and intentions, there are challenges such as lack of equipment, insufficient supplies, and even, at times, shortages of medication. For example, they do not have glucometers (testing diabetes) or audoscopes (checking into ears) so these patients are referred to the hospital (another great distance) and I carry AA batteries because on several occasions staff were unable to take blood pressure readings because they had run out! Then there's the matter of a registration fee of 2500 Kwacha (.50 Canadian) which some do not have (but is also provided through your donations).
Isn't it amazing that an intervention as simple as encouraging people to actually go for treatment (many are reluctant) and providing transportation can help improve and even save lives! Distance and unavailability of transportation or money for it is a major problem that's keeping people from getting medical care. The medical officers are encouraging this effort as a partnership in outreach to the remote Mbayi and even teaching me a bit about recognizing symptoms.
Your support keeps this initiative going - THANKS !!!!!