By Kaya 959 News
The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa has launched its first-ever mobile clinic in Khayelitsha.
The clinic will provide essential preventative health screenings to the most vulnerable members of the community, starting with older persons.
The Foundation’s CEO Professor Pamela Naidoo launched the clinic at the Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS centre.
UCT Chair of Medicine, Professor Ntobeko Ntusi, Sharon Leo from the Western Cape Department of Health were also present.
The high-tech mobile clinic was built with grant funding from the National Lotteries Commission.
Its mission is to travel to communities that lack the means to access basic screening and healthcare.
Educating, diagnosing and referring patients
The clinic is the first in an intended series of the HSFSA’s mobile clinics.
With more new clinics the Foundation hopes to service the country’s most vulnerable communities where there is an increased prevalence of preventable Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), commonly called diseases of Life-Style.
NCDs include heart disease, strokes, increased cholesterol levels, diabetes and obesity. South Africa’s most under-served communities often have the highest levels of undetected and preventable NCDs.
An estimated 70% of heart diseases and strokes can be prevented – yet 225 South Africans are killed by heart diseases every day and nearly 70 die from strokes.
Professor Naidoo says the trained nurses will conduct Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) on members of the communities where they work.
He says nurses will also provide them with helpful information and advice on how to manage their health.
“Those individuals at risk will be referred for health care and treatment where needed to nearby public and private medical facilities,” he said.
Professor Naidoo added the mobile clinic will assist in educating, diagnosing and referring patients. This, he says, will lessen the strain on our overburdened healthcare system.
Promoting healthy living
Patients will also learn the “importance of knowing their numbers”.
Their blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol and body mass index (BMI) will all be tested.
“We know these conditions are also some of the most serious comorbidities for COVID-19, therefore our work is particularly essential at this time.
“We expect the pandemic to be with us for quite a while and therefore it is vital that we equip vulnerable community members to take better care of themselves,” said Professor Naidoo.
GPS pin locations plotted on social media will help the mobile clinic be more accessible to the public.
The mobile clinic will roll out in Khayelitsha at GAPA for the first day.
It will eventually move around the area to serve as many elderly patients as possible in the first year of operation.
The clinic may begin to serve a wider demographic group from its second year of operation.
Nurses will follow strict COVID-19 health protocols.