NAMIBIA

MEDICAL CLINIC VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

MEDICAL VOLUNTEER AFRICA

This Clinic is a healthcare establishment that aims to better the lives of the local San Bushman people living in the eastern part of Namibia. Operating initially since 2003 as an outreach centre, the clinic officially established its permanence, and has been serving roughly 3,500 patients every year since 2006. The main aim of the clinic is to provide the local communities with the free access to medical and healthcare treatments that they require.

Nothing at the clinic is taken for granted, and the money raised through the volunteer program is put directly back into the clinic and its activities. This additional funding is used to help establish and set up projects aimed at employment, education, healthcare and accommodation for the local Bushman community.

During their stay at the clinic, volunteers will be involved in a host of medical and other related activities, including: recording basic patient information and observations, basic wound cleaning and dressing, assist patients with dipstick and urine pregnancy tests, family planning, preparing food packages, just to mention a few. Additionally, volunteers will learn about common diseases effecting the local population, all while being taught in a tailored and concise manner.

Apart from the work that is performed at the clinic, doctors and volunteers will be conducting regular outreach programs and services at the local schools, farms and resettlement villages. Dealing closely with the people of the oldest culture in the world is certainly something to behold, and providing them with the necessary medical care to survive is a gift that only the biggest heart can give.
  • Age: min. 18
  • Location: Epukiro, Namibia
  • Requirements: good physical fitness, flexible
  • Group size: max 6 participants
  • Project duration: 2 weeks - 12 weeks
  • Laundry: You can make use of the washing machine
  • WIFI: WIFI (slow bandwidth) available at an additional cost
  • Linen/towels:Linen and towels provided. Bring your own bath-towel
Location
The project is located in Epukiro, 4 hour drive from the sanctuary

Requirements
Volunteers and students from all across the globe and from any age above 18 years old are welcome. Medical experience is not required! You need to speak English. The Clinic employs local people who can translate from San, Afrikaans, Otjiherero and Damara into English.

Training/qualifications
Volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds are welcome! Healthcare professionals: doctors, nurses and allied health professionals e.g. pharmacists, physiotherapists, optometrists, occupational therapists and paramedics. Other professionals: e.g. gardeners, engineers, plumbers, architects, painters and decorators, joiners, teachers, statisticians and data analysts, etc. Students: e.g. medical and nursing students, as well as those who are thinking of applying for a healthcare professional career.

What is more important than your qualifications and experience is your attitude and approach to life. Volunteers need to be self-motivated; flexible; able to work both independently and in a team; patient, kind and considerate; able to cope with setbacks; and of course have sense of humour.

Clinic
Since its inception back in 2003, the Clinic has been dedicated to serving the health and medical welfare needs of the local San Bushman community, providing them with the access that they need to free medical care. Originally started as an outreach program following the tragic death of a San baby, the clinic has since 2006 become a permanent establishment. Located in the pristine African wilderness of Namibia, volunteers will have the opportunity to work with the people of what is considered to be the oldest culture in the world. A true and traditional hunter-gatherer culture. As a volunteer, your time spent in this remote and spectacular part of the country, working alongside our dedicated team of medical professionals, is both a rewarding and satisfying experience whose memories are bound to last a lifetime.

Volunteers really are the key to the success of this project, and coming prepared to learn while giving it your all, is truly going to leave you with a tremendously rewarding experience. The money raised through the volunteer program goes directly back into the project. This helps to provide opportunities for employment, healthcare and education, as well as accommodation for the local Bushman community. Furthermore, this income ensures the rescue, rehabilitation and survival of orphaned or injured African wildlife.

As a medical volunteer, your time participating in this project will be spent at the remote clinic that operates out of east Namibia, located in Omawewozonyanda. It is a rural village situated in the Epukiro Constituency of the Omaheke Region, and is home to around 500 San and Herero people. By way of your assistance to the two doctors and nurse, you will be providing the local and surrounding communities with the primary healthcare needs that they require, treating around 3,500 patients annually. Roughly 80% of the patients are of San origin, while the other 20% consists of the Herero and Damara speaking Namibian people.

The clinic is dedicated to improving the overall lives of the San community, forced from their lands due to over-grazing and cattle farming, thus rendering them unable to survive as they traditional used to. This sad decline in the San culture and lifestyle has led to them living lives of extreme poverty and alcoholism. Through education, better living conditions and free access to healthcare, this project is committed to making an impactful and lasting change for these indigenous people. Around 40% of the patients that visit Clinic are children, 70% of those being under the age of 5 years. Many of the common diseases that that are often seen in these children include: fungal infections, intestinal worms, diarrhoea, malnutrition, dehydration and oral thrush (mouth infections). Many of the patients that do visit the clinic suffer from the daily aches and pains, while TB and HIV are as commonplace as the alcoholism. Although many of the child patient’s diseases are not particularly severe, if left untreated, they can lead to extremely problematic complications, and could even result in death. As a volunteer, you will also be working with our doctors during their outreach work. You will accompany them as they carry out the programs at the local schools, farms and resettlement villages. As the TB program is expanding through additional funding, the clinic is now able to actively seek out and treat TB patients before permanent damage and complications involving their lungs takes place.

Volunteer Activities
Being a medical treatment clinic, a volunteer’s background and personal experience is determinant of their activities during their stay, however, there is always someway that you can get involved. Dealing closely with the San bushman people, you will come to learn about their way of life, while treating those patients living in the most extreme poverty conditions at the clinic’s remote location.

Volunteer Task at the Clinic include:
  • Recording patients basic observations, including: heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation
  • Perform dipstick and urine pregnancy tests for the patients – recording the findings
  • Weighing babies and recording their growth charts
  • Glucose testing and recording
  • Basic wound cleaning and wound dressing
  • Helping out in the pharmacy: stock control, ordering, packaging medicines
  • Family planning
  • Input project data
  • Sorting of donated clothing and other items
  • General cleaning and maintenance around the clinic
  • Playing with and entertaining the local children that attend the clinic
  • Preparing of food packages for the patients
  • Recording of patient information and survey responses completed on outreach trips
During your time spent at the clinic you will learn about some of the most common diseases that are effecting the local population, as well as how best to treat and deal with them. The teaching that you will receive while at the clinic will depend on your skill level, knowledge and your personal background, while medical and motivated pre-medical students may be able to conduct consultations and other procedures under the direct supervision of the clinic’s medical doctors. Medical professionals will be allowed to share their skills and knowledge with the volunteers and doctors at the clinic, as well as being able to assist with consultations. Furthermore, contacting us in advance will allow us to discuss how to use your particular skills in the most beneficial way possible. No matter a volunteer’s skills or background, anything that they can add is considered to be of value, and it is encouraged that they suggest and recommend possible new activities that they feel could benefit the project. The Clinic is open Monday to Friday, 8am – 5pm, with a regular lunch break during the day. In addition to the clinical activities and daily runnings, a typical fortnight will include:
  • 6 TB case finding days - sometimes involving a camp-out overnight
  • 2 trips to the nearest town for supplies and to transfer medical patients
  • 1-2 outreach clinics at various locations – some drives up to 3-hours away
  • An afternoon of educating the community regarding health, with a health meal provided.
At any one time, the clinic plays host to between two and four volunteers. Some remaining at the clinic, while the others out with the other doctor doing outreach and the like. Weekends is free time and your time to relax, walk around the village, play with the local children, or cheer on the local soccer and netball teams. No matter what you choose to do, your just being there is making the world of difference.

Accommodation & meals
There are usually two to four volunteers staying at the program at one time, so there will be some volunteers at the clinic while some are out and about with the other doctor. At weekends there is free time to relax, play with the local children, walk around the village, or cheer on the village football and netball teams. While volunteering at the Clinic you will stay in a bungalow house along with the resident doctors and nurse. Depending on volunteer numbers, you will have a room to yourself or share with one other of the same gender. The house has a kitchen, bathroom and living room (with TV and Wi-Fi). Electricity and hot water are freely available, with occasional short power-cuts. Three meals are provided each day which you will prepare yourself together with your housemates.

Electricity is 220 Volts and the main socket type is earthed with three pins (as used in South Africa – Type M). Please bring plug adaptors so you can charge mobile phones and cameras. Power cuts do occur and can be prolonged (longer than 24 hours), particularly in the rainy season and particularly at the Clinic. The Clinic is fully fitted with electricity and power sockets are available in the communal house.
Dates
All volunteers will be collected from Windhoek airport and dropped of at the wildlife sanctuary. From here, the transfer to the clinic will take place.

Volunteers arrive on Thursday's at the wildlife sanctuary, and leave to the clinic on Sundays - return on Fridays at the wildlife sanctuary and leave to the airport on Saturday.

Volunteers spend some of their time participating in the Wildlife sanctuary. This project offers the rare and exciting opportunity to help care for orphaned and injured African wildlife. The sanctuary currently provides a safe refuge for orphaned and injured wildlife including a number of lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, caracals and baboons. Wildlife Volunteers provide an important resource in caring for and feeding the animals on a daily basis, helping to maintain and develop the sanctuary and becoming surrogate parents to our orphaned baby baboons, bottle feeding and sleeping overnight with them. Please be flexible as the time spent at the sanctuary and the clinic will depend on resources and timetables of other volunteers and activities.

Arrival date on Thursday / Departure on Saturday
8 August
22 August
5 September
19 September
3 October
17 October 31 October
14 November
28 November
12 December
Contact us for dates in 2020

Rates

Duration Fees
17 days (12 nights at Clinic/4 nights at Wildlife sanctuary 20000 NDS
24 days (19 nights at clinic/4 nights at Wildlife sanctuary 27500 NDS
31 days (26 nights clinic / 4 nights wildlife sanctuary 35000 NDS
Rates includes
  • Project placement
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Accommodation (full-board)
  • 3 x Uniform t-shirts per person
  • An orientation on arrival
  • Return Transport from wildlife sanctuary - clinic
  • Electronic certificate (printed copy on request)
  • Local support including 24-hour emergency number
Rates excludes
  • Flights to Windhoek, Namibia
  • Visa fees
  • Travel Insurance
  • Beverages & Snacks
  • WIFI
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