Driving Healthcare Into The Grassroots.
There is an inspirational quote that says, “hard work makes the dream work.” Regain37’s ZimbosAbantu mobile clinic saw the results of that as the mobile clinic had its first voyage in the health space for two weeks in collaboration with the Makumbe hospital. The goal was simple; vaccinate 600 children per day from typhoid.
This campaign came about as a Ministry of Health and Child Care initiative in collaboration with UNICEF where children from 9 months to 14 years were vaccinated against typhoid, poliomyelitis, cervical cancer for girls. Children under five years also received Vitamin A supplements. The exercise took us to private and government schools in and around Caledonia which has 21 phases. With very few nearby clinics, our mobile healthcare van allowed us to reach hard to reach schools.
From Caledonia, we also went to surrounding farms and villages. In these areas, we encountered another serious challenge that made the work difficult, treacherous, hard to drive on road network. In and out of three-metre long potholes, around ditches, the van stood strong against the environment to reach as many schools as possible. This was worth it because by bringing the vaccines to the doorstep of most families, the walking distance was cut from the usual 7kms to just under 2kms.
One critical component of our mobile healthcare van is the cold supply chain. Through the 10 days, the vaccine freezer was on 24/7 and within the stipulated temperature range. Coupled with the nursing team, Makumbe reached their vaccination target for the first time in a long time thanks to our contribution though our innovation.
In some places, there was hesitancy, people not sure if this was Covid-19 or typhoid vaccine. As the national campaign news spread through the radios and also the efforts of the Regain37 team explaining what the vaccine was for, parents brought their children to school to get the vaccine. Unfortunately, it was not all parents, a combination of vaccine hesitancy that has grown due to misinformation around Covid-19 vaccines as well as some religious sects refusing to allow their congregants to get vaccinated.
Ultimately, after 10 days, we were able to reach the goal of 600 children per day. Overall, we reached the target as a team. We vaccinated a total of 6129 children. As we drove back to our base at Makumbe hospital, we knew we had played a small but important role in a nationwide campaign, adding versatility, efficiency and availability to the healthcare system. We could smile at that and dream of continuing to drive healthcare into the grassroots. Next time you think of keeping your company employees productive whilst worried about their COVID 19 vaccine, think ZimbosAbantu Healthcare on Wheels.