Aug 3, 2017

Pedalling for Patients

Essential Supplies
Essential Supplies

One of the ways we are helping increase access to healthcare is by making sure the Community Health Workers we train have got the equipment they need to do their vital work. Thanks to our donors we’ve been able to provide the healthcare volunteers with backpacks filled with simple equipment like thermometers, stopwatches, water bottles, bandages and basic medications.

To enable them to travel further to reach more patients they are being provided with ‘Buffalo Bicycles’ – robust and easily maintained bikes designed for rough rural terrain. These bicycles will significantly increase the capacity of the health workers to make home visits to patients and expectant mothers. They’ll also be able to reach the nearest Rural Health Centres to meet with the staff there and collect the supplies they’ll need for their frontline health care work.

The Community Health Workers are delighted to have received all this equipment and are already reporting that they are getting to see more people more quickly.

Using bicycles in the field
Using bicycles in the field
Ready for delivery
Ready for delivery
May 19, 2017

Birthing Kits for Safer Deliveries

Distributing Birthing Kits
Distributing Birthing Kits

Our team had been busy helping distribute birthing kits – packs of sterile sheets, gloves and essential items to help mothers give birth in a clean, safe environment.

Recently, at one of the Rural Health Centres with whom our team works, an expectant mother attended an antenatal appointment and received a birthing kit. When the mother came to giving birth the river water had risen so high she was unable to cross to get to the Rural Health Centre. Fortunately, she had been shown what to do with the birthing kit so was able to give birth comfortably at home.

A few days later the water went down and the lady was able to cross the river with the newborn baby. The Rural Health Centre checked the baby and mother and both were doing very well and were healthy with no signs of infection. Being able to create a sterile environment was key to this mother being able to deliver with few complications.

Birthing kits are all distributed by On Call Africa’s team through the Rural Health Centres and their staff. Nurses and community health workers give pregnant mothers a birthing kit at their antenatal clinic appointment. The expectant mothers will take the kits home and keep them until it is time to give birth. The mothers return to the Rural Health Centre when it is time to give birth and must bring the birthing kits with them. These kits are then used throughout the delivery.

Pregnant women are meant to report to a health centre of hospital for their labour. However, when giving out birthing kits the nurses explain how to use them in case the mothers find themselves in a situation where they have to give birth at home with no health care and the only thing that is sterile is the birthing kit.

The nurses at the Rural Health Centre have all reported that they feel the birthing kits are encouraging women to attend their antenatal clinic appointments so that they can receive a birthing kit. Attendance at antenatal appointments has always been low which is unsafe for the baby and the mother. With the added incentive of receiving a birthing kit and then being able to go on and deliver in a health centre where they will not have to pay anything more women are seeking medical help during their pregnancy.

Swollen River Blocking Route to Health Centre
Swollen River Blocking Route to Health Centre
Feb 21, 2017

2016 in Review

One year on - one year old
One year on - one year old

Dear Friends of On Call Africa

Last year nearly 2,500 people told us that their visit to our clinic was they're first ever consultation with a doctor.

Meanwhile, one of the little children we care for is doing well. Twelve months previously, suffering from the effects of severe malnutrition, she had been saved from critical danger by the interventions of our team of Zambian and UK volunteers. Together they helped her back to health – just one of nearly 6,500 patient diagnoses and treatments last year, including over 2,000 children aged under 5 years.

In the last year 13 community health workers completed On Call Africa’s one-year training course. They travelled to Livingstone to participate in five residential training weeks, with each demonstrating improved knowledge and better competencies to allow them to be a more effective first point of call for their communities health needs.

21 doctors volunteered with On Call Africa during 2016. Travelling to Zambia these committed volunteers enable us to continue to increase access to healthcare in rural Zambia.  Supported by our Zambia team they made an immense contribution to our three key activities: treating, training, and teaching.

14 trusts and foundations generously funded the purchase of medicines, training resources, and our running costs in Zambia. A growing number of Friends of On Call Africa have continued to offer regular financial support, and our programme to develop community health worker-led healthcare has been awarded three year’s funding from the Scottish Government.

During 2016 the Trustees developed our three-year strategy, underpinned by the following values:

1.     Quality health care for all: Everyone is entitled to high-quality healthcare in their own community

2.     Community-led: Local communities should have ownership of health issues and health care

3.     Volunteerism: Volunteering is an effective way of making change happen

4.     Independence: Achieving our goals requires we retain our independence, responsiveness and transparency

The six strategic objectives for the period 2016-17 were agreed as follows:

1.     We will continue to develop and test a community-led model of health to maximise effectiveness

2.     We will seek to expand and deliver its model in other areas of Zambia’s Southern Province

3.     We will build strategic partnerships to address public health issues at the community level, and to influence issues practices and policies at other levels (district, province, national, global)

4.     We will increase local ownership and accountability to stakeholders

5.     We will add new skills and staff

6.     We will grow income streams and maintain healthy reserves

We are immensely grateful for all the support and participation from volunteers across the UK and Zambia during the past year, and look forward to continuing to work towards improving access to healthcare in southern Zambia during 2017.

Caring for families
Caring for families
The value and values of Community Health Workers
The value and values of Community Health Workers
 
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