In this beautiful but isolated and impoverished area most people walk at least two or three hours to a village dispensary, and the nearest hospital is 2 -3 hours by car if the roads have not been washed away. A bicycle is a luxury and few people can afford to pay for transport,.
The construction and operating of the Care and Treatment Centre(CTC) at Mdabulo, located in a central position for our target area, made a huge difference to the local community.
In 2010, for the first time, people could access testing for HIV/Aids in their home area. Once tested positive, they could access Anti Retro Viral drugs, enabling them to resist the ravages of the disease and continue caring for their families, working their small farms, providing food.
Patients must attend for testing regularly once a month, The NGO built and equipped the CTC and continues to fund staffing. 5000 people are currently attending, increasing month on month. Photos
Since then we have refurbished the existing Maternity Wing, encouraging Mothers to come to the centre for their deliveries, many of our orphans lost their mothers through complications in child birth.
Our current project at Mdabulo is the new hospital wing, Construction is completed and consulting rooms plus the dental clinic are in use. More funds are need to complete the remainder of the project to a functioning unit, e.g. an Esther anaesthetic machine or similar and a digital X ray machine, plus ongoing funding for some staff members in order to be able to carry out more procedures.
At present people have to finance a lengthy and arduous journey to the nearest hospital, even for an X-Ray, which is all too often impossible for them.
We have also refurbished Dispensaries in outlying villages , a continuing project, to make basic healthcare and medicine more accessible as funds become available..
One of the most effective tools in our fight to defeat sickness and ensuing poverty is the emergence of the Home Based Care Team led by Dr.Leena and the now thirty strong outreach workers.
The outreach workers are local people, equipped with mobile phones, who have undertaken a monitoring role in their villages, encouraging people to come forward for testing, the first and most important step, overcoming stigma and prejudice regarding HIV/Aids. Then, they continue to keep an eye on the diagnosed patients who must attend once a month for retesting and to receive their ARVs for the next month. Distance are great here and it can be difficult for unwell patients to make the journey , the ongoing commitment and encouragement of the outreach workers can make a difference between life and death. (example Sara , Ida, Hanci see photo stories)
A donation of bicycles has been gratefully received, making the journeys easier between isolated homesteads.
The Home Based Care team liaises with the Outreach workers, making many difficult, bumpy journeys dirt roads, targeting the most sick and vulnerable people in distant villages, bringing medical care to those who would otherwise fall through the net.
Dispensing advice, medicine, sometimes helping with funds to enable people to travel to Hospital for X-rays. We are now reaching even the most distant villages in our area, thanks to their efforts.
One of the impacts of HIV is a prevalence of chest infections and tuberculosis., X-rays are required for accurate diagnosis and treatment. We have, as yet no X-ray capability in our district. (see photo stories Mika)