The Mapatizia Rural Health Centre is located in Zimba District, 200km from Livingstone, and 130km from Zimba, where the nearest Doctor is located. The health centre is approximately 35km from the nearest Rural Health Centre, and people travel as far as 40km on foot attend the clinic. The Rural Health Centre serves a population of approximately 6,000 people, but only 400 of these live within 5km, and there are very limited transport options, meaning that the majority travel to the clinic on foot, often taking several days to reach the clinic.
The majority of villages have approximately 20 households, which are usually dominated by a small number of polygamous families.
Staff and services
Mapatizia Rural Health Centre does not have any doctors working there, and the closest doctor is located at Zimba Hospital (which offers limited services), which is approximately 130km (4 hours’ drive) from Mapatizya. Those with more serious conditions would need to make the 200km journey to Livingstone.
The centre should have 4 medical staff working there, consisting of 2 nurses, a clinical officer, and an environmental officer. However, the clinic currently only has 2 nurses and no other staff.
The centre offers antenatal services, vaccinations, family planning, diagnosis and referral services to hospitals. However, the centre stocks very little medicine, and very few patients can afford to make the journey into Zimba or Livingstone to access medicine. The centre has no access to power.
On Call Africa worked with the RHC to identify remote communities within the centre’s catchment area, where patients were unable to access the RHC, let alone see a doctor. On Call Africa delivers treatment in these remote areas through our mobile health clinics, where we offer diagnosis and treatment free of charge through qualified overseas doctors. The doctors also deliver vital health education at clinics and within the communities to help prevent the need for our services.
On Call Africa train Community Health Workers from within these communities to strengthen the existing health systems, ensuring that patients have access to medical advice, and can get referrals when needed. Our CHWs are particularly active at this busy health centre, often seeing patients on their own at the centre. They go to nurses to confirm diagnosis when medication is needed. Our monthly clinics operate in Chikuyu, Pukuma and Chalimongela.
Our clinic in Chikuyu is delivered from the community church which is located at the centre of a community of 4 villages. The clinic is located 10km from the Rural Health Centre, and many of the patients that we see walk to the clinic from villages up to 10km away. The population in the area is 853.
There is one school in the community, which is a 1km walk from the clinic site. The school has a bore hole, but it is rarely working, and is the only bore hole in the village. Very few people in the catchment area have access to clean water. There is a second bore hole within the catchment area, but it is a long distance from Chikuyu. As a result many people in the community bath in, and drink from streams close to their homes.
The majority of the population are farmers, and this is the only source of their income. The farmers do not operate co-operatives, and individually pay for their produce to be transported to Mapatizya for sale, where they do not get a good price. The majority of families live in mud huts with thatched roofs, and have no access to power in the villages.
Most common diseases
Number of CHWs = 3 (Mafalo, Mike, Peter)
Our clinic in Pukuma is delivered from a temporary structure put up by the community. This is located at the centre of a community of 5 villages. The clinic is located 13km from the Rural Health Centre, and many of the patients that we see walk to the clinic from villages up to 10km away. The population in the area is approximately 1,000.
There is no school within walking distance of the clinic, and there are no bore holes in the entire community. As a result many people in the community bath in, and drink from streams close to their homes.
The majority of the population are farmers, and this is the only source of their income. The farmers do not operate co-operatives, and individually pay for their produce to be transported to Mapatizya for sale, where they do not get a good price. Many people in this area also mine for tin. The majority of families live in mud huts with thatched roofs, and have no access to power in the villages.
Most common diseases
Number of CHWs = 1 (George)
On our final day in Mapatizya we run a clinic from the Rural Health Centre in Chalimongela. Due to the limited capacity at the RHC the nurses at the centre are often overstretched. By delivering a clinic in partnership with the existing staff we are helping to reduce the burden, increase capacity to meet the health requirements of residents and build the capacity of staff at the centre.
When we camp at the centre we often come across medical emergencies that the doctors are able to assist with.