Heineken, with whom PharmAccess has a long standing relationship, will provide the sum of €225 000 over three years which will be used to finance assets needed for the Bophelo! Project.
Since its inception in 2008 Bophelo! has offered staff at formal workplaces around the country HIV counselling and testing as well as wellness screening. The wellness screening includes blood pressure, body weight, height, waist circumference measure and the calculation of body mass index. Rapid blood testing for glucose, cholesterol, haemoglobin, HIV, syphilis and Hepatitis B is also done and individuals receive pre-and post test counselling. By the end of 2009 more than 7,000 people had made use of the mobile clinic services.
In Namibia, PharmAccess has also been assisting the Agricultural Employers Association with the rollout of their HIV/AIDS Workplace and Wellness Program. One part of this work was an in-depth survey on farm workers and their family’s accessibility to health care. Results from this survey provided the impetus for Bophelo! to offer health care services to people living on and in the vicinity of farms.
Agriculture in Namibia is one of the most important economic sectors with the commercial farming sector alone employing around 60,000 individuals and having 70,000 dependents living on commercial farms. The survey revealed that with Namibia being a large country with a dispersed population density, rural communities struggle to access health services due to the large distances that have to be covered. The average one-way distance of travel to healthcare facilities was 64 km for clinics, 99 km for doctors, 107 km for hospitals and 133 km for dentists.
Project in brief
During the first year one mobile clinic will service the Karas region, the southernmost region of Namibia. A vehicle will be bought and equipped in each of the following 2 years.
The mobile clinic will optimize its coverage by targeting an entire geographical area with farms and settlements between farms. A patient would have to travel no more than 20km to reach the clinic and the clinic will be on site every eight weeks according to a specific route schedule. During these visits the mobile clinic will provide health care services, including health screening, diagnosis and treatment of basic health conditions and preventative care.
A core function of the mobile clinics will be to provide health education to community health workers for the continuation of basic care. As a mobile clinic will not visit an area more frequently than eight weeks, a core function of the medical staff will therefore be to provide health education for the continuity of basic care through community health workers.