On its sixth annual Cape Town to Cairo roadshow, Philips is helping to deliver primary health care to three townships in Johannesburg.
In a partnership between electronics multinational Phillips, the Nozala Trust and the Rhiza Foundation, a mobile clinic will deliver basic primary health care to thousands of people who have little or no access to health care facilities. The populous townships of Diepsloot, Cosmo City and Orange Farm, in northern Johannesburg, will benefit from this collaboration.
Through the mobile clinic, the partners aim to improve quality of life and provide access to health services, particularly access to maternal and child health and dental care. Another goal is the treatment of hundreds of patients every month. This roadshow marks the pilot launch of the mobile clinic; the ambition is to scale it up to five over the next five years in different communities, based on the outcomes of the initial pilot.
Jose Fernandes, the general manager of Philips health care Southern Africa, said: “In many African countries including South Africa, there is a chronic shortage of suitable equipment or necessary skills to facilitate safe delivery and appropriate new-born care, as well as dental care. [Bringing] health care directly to those most in need shortens the waiting period and improves access, which ultimately saves lives.
“Innovation as a means to improve people’s lives is at the heart of who we are at Philips and we increasingly seek engagement and co-creation opportunities with organisations like the Rhiza Foundation that can result in making a difference in the lives of South Africa citizens.”
Custom built on a mid-sized truck frame, the mobile clinic measures 10m by 2.5m and is divided into two parts: a maternal and child care section and a dental care section.
It is staffed by an-all women team of a registered nurse, a dental therapist, a dental assistant and a driver-assistant. The team meets another of the project’s goals, namely to empower and uplift women.
The mobility of the clinic allows it to expand geographic coverage when it comes to patient care.
In addition, there is an educational aspect. Informative videos are screened on Philips plasma screens for patients and visitors.
On its annual Cape Town to Cairo roadshows, Philips champions UN Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, which are related to reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. The mobile clinic project, conceptualised by the Rhiza Foundation, offers a good synergy to address the issue of maternal and infant mortality.
According to the Philips Fabric of Africa trends report, women in Africa are at significant risk of premature death, with particularly high mortality rates recorded in pregnancy. Women in semi-urban and rural areas across Africa often die as a result of preventable complications during child birth as they have no access to ultrasound screenings to detect critical conditions. Many of these deaths can be diagnosed with basic imaging technology.
Alef Meulenberg, the chairman and founder of the foundation, said: “Rhiza stands for community development at large, through education, skills and enterprise development as well as primary health care that makes a sustainable difference in township communities in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Our goal is to make people self-sustaining, through our holistic approach regarding community and socio-economic development.”
The foundation was extremely proud of the mobile clinic. “We are confident that it will provide and improve primary health care in township communities that currently lack regular access to these services.”
Phillips has also installed its innovative VISIQ ultrasound, which is the size of a tablet, in the clinic. VISIQ is the first ultra-mobile ultrasound system. It is approximately 10 times smaller than a traditional ultrasound machine, with reduced energy consumption. It is ideally tailored for the mobile clinic. It will be used for screening, triage and foetal well-being scans, all of which will help to address the critical issue of maternal and infant care.
Other diagnostic and maternal imaging technology includes: the Philips Avalon Foetal Monitor to detect foetal heart beat and uterus contractions, and a Goldway Colposcope to capture live images of the cervix.
The next stop on the Cape Town to Cairo roadshow will be Nairobi, Kenya, from 26 to 29 May. Follow the journey via Twitter @philipsSafrica or visit www.philips.com/C2CAfrica.
Royal Philips is a diversified health and well-being company with a focus on cardiac care, acute care and home health care, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming, and oral health care.
Issues that have been tackled over the last five years of the roadshow have included mother and child care, the rise of non-communicable diseases, energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) and solar lighting solutions, as well as clinical education and training.
The Dutch company also promotes LED lighting in Africa on the roadshows, enabling efficient energy management, reducing costs, improving city life, and extending the day for rural areas with solar lighting. It has introduced several breakthrough energy-efficient LED lighting innovations.