For the majority of South Africans, quality and affordable healthcare is out of reach. Across the country, people living in townships suffer from limited access to healthcare services. Mobile health clinics are changing this, driving better patient access to care by visiting the areas that need it the most.
“Existing resources aren’t placed where they are desperately needed,” says Executive Director of non-profit organisation Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre, Dr Jean Bassett. “We launched our mobile clinics to help people living in Diepsloot and Msawawa to gain access to a range of healthcare services.”
Key services include HIV counselling and testing (HCT), TB screening, child immunisation, general adult and paediatric care, emergency management of chronic diseases, women wellness and social services. Fitted with two fully equipped consulting rooms, a refrigerator and wash basin, the mobile clinic travels to Diepsloot and Msawawa seven days a week.
Witkoppen launched their mobile clinics in 2011 to reduce the number of HIV-infections and to provide ART treatment to HIV-positive individuals. “We are able to reach patients who are unable to visit our main facility in Fourways,” says Bassett. “Our main aim is to provide a secure environment, where patients feel comfortable enough to seek healthcare advice.”
With an estimated 260 000 new infections annually, South Africa’s HIV epidemic is not only the largest in the world, but the fastest growing. Witkoppen Clinic’s main aim is to provide quality and affordable healthcare to those living in the informal settlements.
The privately run, donor-funded organisation assists close to 10 000 patients per month. The Centre provides a range of services, including HIV and TB testing, antenatal care, a mental health clinic, dentist, as well as the opportunity to consult qualified doctors, nurses, psychologists and pharmacists. A patient’s first visit is free.