This week we are delighted to have a guest post written by the Secretary of Kubatana, an association working towards Charity status. Read on to find out more about their plans to provide primary health care services to communities of Zimbabwe and beyond...
According to World Health Organisation, ‘PHC is a whole-of-society approach that includes health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.’
Using the four pillars of health care, to date, our operation is as follows:
Pillar one - Community participation
Kubatana means ‘joining hands together.’ Just as depicted in the logo, we want to join with communities in health care initiatives. We go to communities, not as a superior entity with all the resources and answers, but our aim is to collaborate and empower the communities.
For sustainable health, the community has to participate and take responsibility for attaining and maintaining healthy lifestyles. KTAO has embarked on campaigns to live more healthy lifestyles and the handing out of information has been our main focus.
We have a Facebook group and a YouTube channel. Through these social media channels so far we have done a ‘Healthy Eating Rainbow Challenge’ and a ‘Walk to Health challenge.’ The idea behind both campaigns is for individuals to consciously make decisions that will lead to healthy lifestyles after being educated on benefits as well as the pitfalls of not doing so.
Initiatives we have embarked on are aimed at health promotion and disease prevention. We are currently looking to recruit someone, on a voluntary basis, to provide a live online workout Zumba or similar sessions at least once a week to cater for those people who are not keen on going outside for exercise. This will be shown on our YouTube channel and be accessible for all. We have also just launched a fundraiser hike to Mount Snowdown, and this will take place in August 2021.
The trustees of Kubatana, from left to right: Eulitha Chimbetete Gonese (Secretary), Nancy Mkudu (Chairperson), Tatenda Nhawu (Treasurer).
Pillar two - Inter-Sectoral Coordination
This involves having more than one specialised agency performing different roles for a common purpose. Coordination with the housing, public works, education, industry and food industry is crucial.
KTAO collaborates with organisations and individuals that have a like-minded mission.
A church based charity called Ebenezer works with KTAO in identifying individuals and verifying their needs. They have created a funnel where they coordinate with councillors, village heads and church leaders simulating what we know here in the UK as social care. Having Ebenezer co-ordinating various groups’ activities has helped stop duplication of activities.
From left to right: this man was suffering for 3 years with lesions until he was given a cream with UV light protection. A donation of a wheelchair was given to this man and this lady was given a food donation.
In the UK, we encourage our members to actively participate in community activities where they live. We aim to work with local councils and talks and contacts will resume after the lockdown as currently, most offices are either closed or on skeleton staff.
When it comes to exercise, we advocate for walks and other free ways of exercising as we are aware that some individuals have been economically affected by COVID-19.
Pillar four - Support Mechanism Available
The main target of primary healthcare is to make it available and accessible, at least for essential health care first level referral facilities all over the universe. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest problems in Zimbabwe as most people cannot afford this initial consultation, hence diseases would have progressed by the time individuals visit a doctor.
KTAO has teamed up with a medical aid society, Ultramed, which has about 90 medical doctors in Zimbabwe. A discounted consultation fee has been agreed upon. A pilot study in Harare is underway and soon we hope to have the referral system across the whole country.
Individuals identified by Ebenezer go for consultation and KTAO pays the doctors the discounted fee as well as for the required medication. In the 2 months of this study it is evident that most of the patients will need costly diagnostic studies and some surgical intervention which is difficult considering the political climate which has been compounded by the COVID-19 lockdown.
After talking to the founder and CEO of Ultramed, Dr Syd Mukonoweshuro, it was agreed that there was need to get another step at the bottom of the ladder, in the form of triaging nurses or doctor’s assistance. This would take the pressure off the doctors and would be a cheaper option.
As a result, it would enable individuals to have access to healthcare sooner before diseases progress. The use of Telemedicine, whereby the advice of a medical doctor can be accessed over the phone is being explored.
Nurses would assess patients at polyclinics and call to consult a medical doctor if need be. KTAO will look into facilitating this.
At the moment, KTAO is operating as a community based association and not a charity. To register as a charity, one of the conditions is to prove an annual income in excess of £5000.00 and at the moment we do not have that money in our coffers. Because of that, we are unable to access any tax breaks or gift aid. However, by end of year, we should be in a position to make an application.
Currently, our support comes from friends and family. We have 3 trustees and as individuals we have already been working in our communities as well as in Zimbabwe. We came together because we had one common vision. Because of COVID-19, we have not yet launched any campaigns for us to be known more outside our circles.
As transparency is key to trust, we update our members on activities undertaken via our Facebook page and YouTube Channel. We are also contactable by email. One other challenge is the education of volunteers regarding compliance with government regulations as well as providing a good standard of service to our clients.
All this requires a lot of time which is difficult as we all work full time in our jobs. Fortunately, there is a lot of readily available information from government websites and related organisations.
As usual with most charitable organisations, there always seems to be more need than the resources, both manpower and economy wise! However, what has been donated in the few months we have been in operation has been sufficient for us to start getting systems and structures in place. It has also showed us that any little goes a long way to change lives as well as communities!
Submitted by Eulitha Chimbetete Gonese, Secretary for Kubatana Together as One