The Simwatachela Rural Health Centre is located in Zimba District, 180km from Livingstone hospital, and 120km from the nearest doctor, at Zimba Hospital. The health centre serves a very large catchment area, with a population of 24,000. In this area there are outreach posts up to 45km from the health facility with no means of transport.
The health centre has 5 nurses, 2 clinical officers, 1 Environmental Health Technician, and a lab technician. The health centre acts as a mini hospital, and takes referrals from nearby RHCs.
Biggest challenges at the health centre
Due to its remote nature, and poor facilities, the health centre and surrounding communities face the following key challenges
- Limited power
The facility has solar power, but this is only sufficient to provide power for a few hours a day. This limits the laboratory capacity, and means they often have to treat patients in the dark at night
- Limited availability of medication
- Limited access to clean water
The majority of communities collect water from streams and open wells. The facility itself has a bore hole, but it often dry’s during rainy season
- Low levels of health literacy
- Poor nutrition
There are high levels of malnutrition reported in this area
- Transport Links
Simwatachela Rural Health Centre is responsible for providing medical services to households up to 45km from the centre. These communities do not have reliable transportation links to reach the clinic.
- Most common health issues
Diarrhoea, Respiratory, Musco-skeletal, Malaria, Disgestive, Skin
On Call Africa began working with Simwatachela Rural Health Centre in 2021, to identify its biggest challenges and assess needs both at the facility, and within the communities in it’s catchment area. We place volunteer doctors in the facility, where they work alongside existing nurses and Community Health Workers offering diagnosis and treatment, and supporting outreach activities, while conducting assessments, mapping and developing clear implementation plans for On Call Africa, Ministry of Health and partners to take forward. We also work with partners to deliver public health interventions that meet the individual health needs of each community.
On Call Africa will train Community Health Workers from within the facilities catchment area to strengthen the existing health systems. Ensuring patients have access to medical advice and referrals when needed. The Community Health Workers will be provided bicycles once they complete their training to enable them to carry out home visits for sparsely populated communities.
We are also working with partner organisations to develop programmes to improve power supply, and give access to telemedicine services. We will also work partners to address poor water, hygiene and sanitation practices, as well as transport links within the catchment area.