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
Under 5's vaccines from the back of the vehicle
On Call Africa's new off road vehicle