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Improving health services and facilities available to local communities is one of the top priorities of the Zalala Foundation. To date, our main focus has been on Idugo. This island, with an estimated population of around 10,000 people, has no maternity unit or any health facilities at all. As a result of our intensive fundraising and lobbying efforts, the people of Idugo now enjoy increased access to some basic health services and there are plans in the near future to build a complete health centre on the island.

Mobile Health Clinic

While we are working hard to get funding to build a complete health centre for the estimated 10,000 people living on Idugo, the Zalala Foundation proposed to the District Health Department to provide some services in the form a Mobile Health Clinic. After several months of discussion a cost-sharing agreement was reached between the District Health Department of Quelimane and the Zalala Foundation. Under this agreement, a team of 11 health care workers with a range of specialisms will travel twice monthly to Idugo equipped with medical equipment and medical supplies providing consultations and treatment for the local population. The focus will be on maternal and infant care, HIV services and other general medical treatment. During the first 3-month trial period, reports will be produced about the health situation on the island and records will be produced for regular monitoring of treatments and adherence to ARV treatment.

The first mobile clinic was greeted with huge enthusiasm. Hundreds of people flocked from all parts of Idugo to the place where the clinic was set up. Mothers with their babies, the elderly, who were transported on bicycles by relatives and others with clear signs of illness. Many were tested for malaria and those testing positive received treatment. Some were too sick to stand and lay flat on the ground waiting their turn to be seen. Their names were recorded and they will be the first to be seen on the next visit.

Over a 3-month period, close to 250 consultations were provided, 92 cases of malaria were diagnosed and treated and close to 300 prescriptions were given for other illness diagnosed. A family planning clinic was set up to hand out contraceptive pills and provide injectable implants for women, some with as many as 10 children. Talks on preventive health were attended by over 500 residents of Idugo and 250 oral health kits were handed out to school children and others. The experience and evidence collected by the Brigades point to the desperate need for such services to be available to the islanders on a permanent basis. Thus the Foundation’s efforts to realise our ambition to provide a full-scale health centre on the island will be redoubled during 2019.