Along the Zambian shoreline of Lake Tanganyika are people living in remote villages inaccessible by road. People living in these villages have very limited access to health care as a direct consequence of their geographical location. Only one village has a local Government clinic; another has a small poorly-resourced health post and the remainder have no health services.
In these villages, Community Health Workers and Local Birth Attendants offer health care with little resources. Villagers must travel by boat to the Ministry Of Health (MOH) Health Centre in Mpulungu. There are many obstacles which prevent most from making this journey. Village life is dictated by fishing and as this is the primary source of income, being absent to access healthcare can have a direct impact on income generated. Cultural expectations and roles of women restrict their movement to leave the village. Financial costs associated with travelling to Mpulungu are another barrier.
Our team recognised that the best way to serve people living in these communities would be to work in partnership with the MOH and take a medical team by boat to conduct regular clinics. Village based health clinics facilitate early disease recognition and treatment leading to improvements in health and reduction in deaths.
On the first day, the medical team conducts open air Health Education sessions addressing HIV, malaria and general health topics, raising awareness and increasing knowledge. The medical team set up and conduct free clinics at Primary Preventative Level, offering routine malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests and treatment, Ante Natal Care for expectant mothers, childhood Immunisation programs, HIV services and health education on HIV, malaria and general health during each consultation. Each patient also receives prayer and the medical team can testify to witnessing many miracles taking place in the name of Jesus.
In addition to Mobile Clinics into the villages, our Medical Ministry at Lake T includes an on-site medical clinic for the Good News Orphan School and weekly eyeglass testing for the Mpulungu community. The longterm strategy of improving the health situation in the lakeshore villages is to train and equip Community Health Workers in each village.