Medical Service Benefits Rural Residents

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By Chrispin Inambao RUNDU Teachers, Namibia Defence Force (NDF) members, the police and other civil servants who are stationed in rural areas in Kavango now have access to better health care courtesy of a mobile clinic run by Dr Riaan van Schalkwyk from Rundu. Twice weekly, a mobile clinic in the form of a custom-made VW bus with the registration number N168R travels to fixed-points at constituencies west and east of Rundu where the doctor attends to patients in these rural areas who can afford his services. Presently, they attend to patients as far as Nepara in the Mpungu Constituency 160 km west of Rundu and Divundu 200 km east of the town. Some of their patients travel from as far as Calais in Angola. Bonita de Lange, the chief administrator at the practice that boasts some 2200 patients, says since the privately-run mobile clinic started offering its services, it tends to 100 patients per trip, fifty from the east and a similar number from the west of the north-eastern town. Other rural settlements on the itinerary of Dr Van Schalkwyk and his partner at the practice, Dr Van Wyk Mostert, previously a General Practitioner (GP) in Angola, are Tondoro and Nankudu in the Kahenge Constituency where rural residents on the Public Service Employees Medical Aid Scheme (PSEMAS) and other schemes seek medical attention from the doctor who does minor surgery on an examination couch fitted for this purpose. They also they dispense medication. In the wake of the current polio outbreak, the mobile clinic also compliments the government’s present initiative of orally administering the vaccine to private patients at N$4.30 a dose. De Lange says the practice saw the need to invest in this unique concept after it was informed by some of the 2200 patients in its care that they are forced to travel long distances and that sometimes they get to Rundu when their conditions have worsened. Another reason why Dr Van Schalkwyk invested N$270 000 in the custom-made, mobile facility was that he apparently has a passion for his job and he simply wanted to bring private medical services to those who could afford to pay for it in remote areas of the region.