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Dec 9, 2015

Sustainable Health Care

The last 3 months have seen work in all three aspects of our health strategy: training, education and clinics.

Community Health Worker training has continued with another residential training week in Livingstone.  13 village volunteers attended sessions led by qualified doctors looking at how to identify early signs of serious illness. As part of a year-long programme the week was a vital part of enhancing their knowledge of key areas of clinical concern.

Our team has conducted health education classes in each of the nine villages where we work. Sexual health and healthy eating have both featured as topics for discussion within the local schools.

Mobile clinics have been maintained throughout the last three months. Our doctors were joined by additional volunteers from Vision Aid Overseas. Together they were able to conduct hundreds of eye tests. Our regular clinical work has offered consultations, diagnosis and  prescriptions, and in a few of the more serious cases we have facilitated emergency referral and transfer to hospital. In the case of one young baby with severe malnutrition this proved life-saving.

Despite the onset of the rainy season we are still able to get to the majority of the villages, though the Kalomo River was too high during November meaning our vehcile was unable to cross to the vilage itself. Nevertheless, an intrepid local volunteer was able to carry vital supplies of medicines and contraception to assist the population until the next clinic.

Sep 10, 2015

Clinics, health prevention & long term support

Delivery of wheelchairs to rural communities
Delivery of wheelchairs to rural communities

On Call Africa has had a fantastic couple of months with our medical clinics continuing to be extremely busy and at times oversubscribed with unwell patients.

Our overseas volunteers have done a fantastic job coordinating the ever expanding On Call Africa programmes. Our clinics, training and health education have only suceeded because these dedicated individuals have made sure everything happened at the right time and place. Through partnership with local health workers they have ensured life saving medication reached those who needed it most.

As well as treating unwell patients, the team have continued to run a number of health prevention programmes. For example, On Call Africa maintains a regular programme of de-worming tablets. A number of studies conclude that this sort of treatment may be one of the most effective ways of enabling young people to maintain attendance at school and for people to maintain economic activity.

Our wonderful friends at Livingstone Rotary Club have partnered with us once more, this time to provide wheelchairs for children with physical disabilities who live in the rural communities we serve. Last month our team passed them on to some delighted families in Simango and Katapazi. The children are loving being able to go much further than before (though the local livestock are still not sure!).

Thank you as always to all of our supporters, we could not continue without you.

Our team dropping of a patient at hospital
Our team dropping of a patient at hospital
Brand new off road wheelchair!
Brand new off road wheelchair!
May 1, 2015

Attempting to reach the most inaccessible areas

Open air clinic in Siajumba
Open air clinic in Siajumba

On call Africa’s vision has always been to provide equitable access to quality healthcare as close to home as possible. In Zambia, a geographically dispersed population, the tropical climate, and an under-developed infrastructure mean accessing target areas can be challenging.

This month our new off-road vehicle has arrived in Zambia and is already in action. Fully equipped as an ambulance it is able to transport our volunteer doctors and health workers to mobile clinics in the most inaccessible locations, and for the most serious cases help patients get from the villages to hospital. 

The most isolated area we serve is Siajumba, lying tucked away in the southeastern corner of Zambia close to the border with Zimbabwe. A population of over 3000 live here, although we would never guess as we drove many hours down what looked like a bicycle track with not a soul to be seen. Eventually we came across a huge river, completely impassible even for our 4x4 vehicle. Every year when the rains come and the river fills, the people of Siajumba become cut off from the rest of the Zambia. For three long months they have no contact with the outside world and no access to medical care.

We had been warned that it was unlikely we would be able to cross the river this month as the rains had come late. The community however were not planning to let the river to stop them and many patients had walked from their homes to the banks of the river to meet us as we arrived. Without a building to work from the medical team had to improvise and found a shady spot under a tree to set up clinic. Over the next few hours children received life saving immunisations, a patient was diagnosed and treated for malaria, and numerous other medical complaints were managed.

Even with our wonderful new vehicle, the challenge of how to reach this vulnerable community in the rainy season remains. A number of suggestions have been made including installing a bridge, or accessing the area by helicopter, and we continue to work with the community in the hope we can find a solution and be able to deliver the healthcare that the people of Siajumba deserve throughout the year.

Thank you as always to all of our supporters, we could not do any of this without you.

The river won't stop us delivering healthcare
The river won't stop us delivering healthcare
Under 5's vaccines from the back of the vehicle
Under 5's vaccines from the back of the vehicle
On Call Africa's new off road vehicle
On Call Africa's new off road vehicle

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