As part of our commitment to addressing the needs of local communities living alongside lions and other predators, ALERT supports frontline healthcare in Gweru, Zimbabwe.
Mkoba 4 Polyclinic delivers essential healthcare services to a catchment area of over 47,000 people. As with all clinics in Zimbabwe, it is under-staffed and poorly-resourced. ALERT provides both material support and manpower, in the form of volunteers who attend the clinic to assist with essential administration and observation tasks. In doing so, medical staff have time to focus on providing specialist services, increasing the efficiency of the clinic and making attending a more positive experience for patients.
In the last three months, volunteers have assisted in several departments within the clinic:
In the baby clinic, 598 babies were weighed and measured by volunteers, who then recorded this information on individual clinic cards. This helps nursing staff to monitor the progress of each baby, to ensure that he or she is growing normally and healthily. Meanwhile, in the maternity department, 209 mothers were given a health check - their temperature, blood pressure, and weight was taken to ensure that they were having a healthy pregnancy.
Before being seen by healthcare staff, volunteers are responsible for taking each person’s temperature, blood pressure and weight, reducing the waiting time for patients. In the last quarter, this added up to 447 patients. Another important task, which used to be extremely time-consuming for staff, is working in the dispensary. The clinic administers everything from antibiotics to antiretrovirals used to control HIV, all of which have to be counted and packed by volunteers prior to collection; a whopping 31,916 pills in the last three months alone.
As well as assisting with tasks inside the clinic, healthcare staff are also supported by volunteers during home visits in the local community. Several of these visits were held in the last quarter. Designed for patients who are not well enough to attend the clinic, or to offer post-natal care to recent mothers, volunteers also use this time to assist with housework, alleviating the strain for patients who may be too infirm to cope themselves. Much-welcomed donations of clothing and groceries are often made during home visits too.
Support Mkoba 4 Polyclinic
If you would like to support our frontline healthcare programmes you can do so by sponsoring the work of a clinic. Or, if you prefer to make a more hands-on contribution, you can volunteer on this programme.