New Harnas clinic at Epukiro brings hope

New Harnas clinic at Epukiro brings hope

A NEW clinic has opened its doors at Epukiro where the poor can receive free medical treatment.Last year Dr Rudi van Vuuren, a general practitioner who is married to Marlice van der Merwe of the Harnas wildlife rehabilitation centre, was on the farm when a San child fell very ill.

He adapted an intravenous drip used for the animals on the farm and rushed the child to Gobabis, but the child died on the way. After this, Van Vuuren started talking to his colleagues and in no time private medical practitioners started volunteering their services.An unused clinic at Epukiro was perfectly situated and the Dutch foundation, Burgland Charities, provided the necessary funding to buy the building.Since February, volunteer doctors have been visiting the Harnas Lifeline Clinic once a month to treat patients.At first there were only about 50 patients, but now there are always more than 120 people in need of medical assistance.People who can afford it, pay only N$50 for a consultation and medication.The poorest people, mainly the San community, are treated free of charge.Professionals offering their services include general practitioners, eye specialists, physiotherapists and a chemist who also donates medicine.Dr Kerry Sherwood, an intern doctor at the Katutura State Hospital, was visiting the Harnas farm when she heard about the clinic and the following month a group of intern doctors volunteered their services.The clinic also collects medical data which shows that the San community suffers from poverty-related diseases such as TB, HIV-AIDS, malnutrition and alcohol abuse.The Herero community, on the other hand, have diseases like gout, high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis.The Harnas Lifeline Clinic was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amathila on Saturday.She said Government was aware that certain communities in the Omaheke Region were heavily affected by a vicious cycle of HIV-AIDS, TB, poverty, lack of development and the limited reach of Government services.The region has one of the lowest literacy rates in Namibia and also one of the highest unemployment rates.Close to half of all people in Omaheke are unemployed.The next step is to create some sort of employment for the San community to keep them occupied and curb alcohol abuse.The vision for the future will be to offer a primary health care facility, along with a community health resource centre offering peer-led information programmes on alcohol and substance dependency, HIV prevention and nutrition.It is also envisaged that the centre will offer education, training and job-creation programmes for people in the area, but with emphasis on the San communities.Amathila said there was a very strong commitment from a large number of stakeholders to promote the development of local communities, especially focusing on the improvement of their health.Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi, who is the patron of the Harnas Lifeline Clinic, said that to treat the poor at no cost is a gesture of extreme kindness shown by the private medical practitioners.An old San man, known only as Piet, was brought to the clinic by a Herero man who looks after Piet and his wife.Piet has cataracts in both eyes and has been blind for some time.He was taken to Windhoek by eye specialists Dr Jannus Brandt and Leart Petrick.They will operate on Piet this week and believe he will most likely regain his vision.After this, Van Vuuren started talking to his colleagues and in no time private medical practitioners started volunteering their services.An unused clinic at Epukiro was perfectly situated and the Dutch foundation, Burgland Charities, provided the necessary funding to buy the building.Since February, volunteer doctors have been visiting the Harnas Lifeline Clinic once a month to treat patients.At first there were only about 50 patients, but now there are always more than 120 people in need of medical assistance.People who can afford it, pay only N$50 for a consultation and medication.The poorest people, mainly the San community, are treated free of charge.Professionals offering their services include general practitioners, eye specialists, physiotherapists and a chemist who also donates medicine.Dr Kerry Sherwood, an intern doctor at the Katutura State Hospital, was visiting the Harnas farm when she heard about the clinic and the following month a group of intern doctors volunteered their services.The clinic also collects medical data which shows that the San community suffers from poverty-related diseases such as TB, HIV-AIDS, malnutrition and alcohol abuse.The Herero community, on the other hand, have diseases like gout, high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis.The Harnas Lifeline Clinic was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amathila on Saturday.She said Government was aware that certain communities in the Omaheke Region were heavily affected by a vicious cycle of HIV-AIDS, TB, poverty, lack of development and the limited reach of Government services.The region has one of the lowest literacy rates in Namibia and also one of the highest unemployment rates.Close to half of all people in Omaheke are unemployed.The next step is to create some sort of employment for the San community to keep them occupied and curb alcohol abuse.The vision for the future will be to offer a primary health care facility, along with a community health resource centre offering peer-led information programmes on alcohol and substance dependency, HIV prevention and nutrition.It is also envisaged that the centre will offer education, training and job-creation programmes for people in the area, but with emphasis on the San communities.Amathila said there was a very strong commitment from a large number of stakeholders to promote the development of local communities, especially focusing on the improvement of their health.Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi, who is the patron of the Harnas Lifeline Clinic, said that to treat the poor at no cost is a gesture of extreme kindness shown by the private medical practitioners.An old San man, known only as Piet, was brought to the clinic by a Herero man who looks after Piet and his wife.Piet has cataracts in both eyes and has been blind for some time.He was taken to Windhoek by eye specialists Dr Jannus Brandt and Leart Petrick.They will operate on Piet this week and believe he will most likely regain his vision.

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