Children's Mobile Clinic
African children in the forgotten villages far from the tarmac road have little or no access to medical care. We discovered the depth of the problem in our AIDS orphan support project. In every village there would be sick and dying children with no hope of medical care (one in five would die before their fifth birthday) – we pioneered the concept of mobile clinics in 2003 and the model has been copied throughout sub Saharan Africa.
Imagine a GP surgery on wheels which is able to get to the remotest parts of the African bush and deliver life-saving, limb-saving, sight-saving treatments to African children who would otherwise be left to suffer or die.
Every year we treat well over 30,000 sick children including over 8,000 cases of malaria (still Africa’s biggest killer), save many young lives and provide regular access to life-saving medication for over 100 children living with HIV.
A donation of £25 will enable us to treat 10 sick children and maybe save a life.
A donation of £600 would sponsor an entire mobile clinic for a day.
Caring for Children with AIDS
In 2005 antiretroviral medicine became available free of charge in Malawi for everyone infected with the AIDS virus, however children under 13 years of age were excluded.
We could not stand by and watch these innocent African children suffer the painful and undignified death that is the final outcome of AIDS so for the first two years we began our own programme caring for twelve children, buying the antiretroviral medicine at an annual cost of $500 per child.
In 2007 the antiretroviral medicines to treat HIV/AIDS became available free of charge for all, making it possible for us to expand our project.
To ensure they want to come for their clinical assessment we made our centre as unlike a medical facility as possible. We provide football and netball facilities, books, toys, games, even a TV (a great rarity at that time). It works exceptionally well and the children are eager to attend, arrive early and do not want to leave at the end of the day.
We faced two challenges
Many of the children were orphaned and without the support of their parents, lost to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
How can one ensure that children attend every month for essential ongoing clinical appraisal and prescription of their medicine?
Our solutions were simple and effective
For those children who lived far away and where there is no transport we organise bicycle taxis to bring them for their 4 weekly clinical assessment.
Cervical Cancer Screening
Malawi has the world's highest mortality rate from cervical cancer with a median survival time from diagnosis of 10 months and a 5-year survival rate of 2.9%.
We can do something about this with your help. Using a simple, cost-effective VIA test (Visual Inspection with Acetic acid) we can detect the lesions that will develop into cancers and treat them with cryotherapy.
The great advantage of the field-based methodology of our programme is that the treatment, with the patients consent can begin at once. Our two nurses will perform the test and the treatment.
The cost for the VIA test and cryotherapy treatment is £22 - a small price to avoid suffering and death.
Educating the Community
An essential part of any healthcare programme focused on the African child is education on Public Health issues as there is often a vacuum of knowledge on key areas.
These include HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, diet and the importance of hygiene with diarrhoea still a major killer for children.
Before every clinic a member of our team will give a fifteen-minute talk on one of these issues and we have always found the community to be truly appreciative and receptive.