Mkoba Polyclinic is situated in a densely-populated suburb of Gweru in Zimbabwe, delivering essential healthcare services to a catchment area of over 47,000 people. With a staff of just 36, meeting the clinic’s obligations to every patient is a challenge. To assist, ALERT and Antelope Park provide non-specialised manpower in the form of medical volunteers to carry out administrative and observational tasks. This support allows specialised staff to concentrate on essential frontline services, such as midwifery, HIV diagnosis and treatment, and pre and post-natal attention.
Between the months of February and April, medical volunteers attended to 416 babies in the Baby Clinic, weighing and measuring them and adding this information to clinic cards. 279 mothers-to-be were assessed in the Maternity Department, where assistance was also given during the delivery of four babies. In the Dispensary, 28,971 pills were counted and packaged, while routine observations were carried out on 237 patients (temperature, blood pressure and weight), before them being attended to by nursing staff.
Staff and medical volunteers also carried out home visits to Gogo, an 80-year old lady living on her own. Every month, Gogo is called on to check on her health and to deliver groceries. These visits also act to give her a sense of well-being and remind her that there are people who care about her welfare.
During the first visit, volunteers cooked for Gogo and shared a meal with her. Noticing that the walls of her home could do with a ‘facelift’, they brought paint with them next time and painted the walls a calming shade of blue. The joy on Gogo’s face each time we visit, or do something to help her, makes every effort worthwhile.
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