Mobile clinics bringing health services to farming communities
Besides on their monthly trip to town, most farming communities are only able access to primary health care services via the mobile clinics offered by Western Cape Government Health. One of the mobile clinics that bring much needed healthcare services to farming communities, is the Stanford Mobile Clinic. It offers primary health care services to all farms in the vicinity of Standford, Gansbaai, Pearly Beach, and Buffeljagsbaai. It is one of two mobile clinics in the Overstrand Area and assists between 500 and 600 patients monthly.
Maria Kiewit from the Emden Flora Farm makes use of the family planning and women’s health services for herself and also brings her son, Fredrick for deworming, vitamin A and immunisations. She says she is happy with the excellent service they receive on the farm. “They help me to keep my son healthy. Today the mobile clinic gave him deworming tablets and vitamin A drops, as well as medication for his cold and the rash on his neck. They have also given me a sugar salt solution that I can use if he develops diarrhoea.”
The mobile clinic services are offered by a staff nurse and a clinical nurse practitioner. “To protect ourselves against COVID-19, we wear our personal protective equipment and sanitise the mobile clinic after each patient,” says staff nurse Melanie Engel, who has been working on the mobile clinic for more than 11 years. They also use each opportunity to screen their patients and educate them on COVID-19. “We have experience most of our patients have limited knowledge of the virus as they generally don’t have access to televisions and internet,” says Melanie.
Carlien Baquana stays on a farm roughly 53 km away from the nearest clinic and says she has been making use of the mobile clinic for the past seven years. “It is so much easier for me as I have no car and no access to public transport and I need to get my chronic medication,” says Carlien. “By bringing the service to the farm, we also have access to healthcare.”
Melanie says she has gotten to know her patients and has become attached to her regular patients. “Both Sister Reid and I really enjoy working on the mobile clinic, to see the satisfaction on each and every patient’s face after have assisted them is priceless. We know our patients and enjoy following up with our chronic patients and to see how the children are growing up healthy.”
During COVID-19, limited primary health care services were offered, especially to rural farming communities. As part of the provincial effort to move forward safely, health services have resumed and all patients are now able to access all primary health care services again. Western Cape Government Health urges parents to ensure their children’s immunisations are up to date, to continue taking their chronic medication as prescribed, and to look after their general and mental health.