There have been a lot of big changes happening over at Bulembu Clinic in the past couple of months. Here is a summary of what’s been going down:
A new nurse/midwife from Siteki, Swaziland is joining the clinic team at the beginning of June. “We have a high volume of pregnant women that need prenatal care and our new midwife is very experienced and has been a unit manager on various labor wards internationally,” explains Clinic Manager, Niel. “Along with prenatal care she will be focusing on prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission as well as child vaccinations.”
The new midwife will bring the clinic staff to a grand total of seven: one midwife, two medical staff, one part-time medical consultant, two janitorial staff and one ambulance driver. With the Clinic team seeing over 40 patients each day the new midwife is a welcome addition to the staff.
Training, Training, Training
Bulembu Clinic Manager, Niel and Bulembu Director of Education and Training, Dennis Neville, have started an occupational health and safety committee. The committee will ensure that all departments within Bulembu are educated about and uphold basic standard health and safety precautions.
“We want to train all Bulembu employees to ensure that they work in a healthy environment,” says Niel. “Training will include hazard identification, certain precautions to take to prevent injury to life and damage to property, as well as basic first aid training.”
In addition, Niel and Wiseman, the Clinic’s nurse, are going to Johannesburg over the next two weekends to do courses in pediatric advanced life support and international trauma life support, both of which are accredited by the American Heart Association.
“These courses are intense,” says Niel. “They are vital qualifications for us to have because we are living and working in a rural community that is focusing on child care. To be able to provide superior service to our patients in these areas is key and this training will help us reach that level.”
Antiretroviral (ARV) Medication and HIV/AIDS Testing
“We are excited to say that we have free ARV medication available for all HIV/AIDS patients in Bulembu now,” says Niel.
Baylor Medical School (Texas, USA) has a clinic in Mbabane and provides all pediatric ARV medication and support at the Bulembu Clinic. In addition, a team from Pigg’s Peak Hospital has teamed up with the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health (New York, USA) to refill and dispense ARVs to all of Bulembu’s adult patients. Both teams come once per month and as a result of their generous support these drugs are provided to the Bulembu community at no cost to the patients or to BMS.
Testing for HIV/AIDS at the clinic is also on the rise as the testing rate has gone up from 14 patients/month to almost 70 patients/month since Christmas. “We have a prevalence rate of approximately 35% in Bulembu,” Niel says. “But the increase in testing shows us that people are more concerned with knowing their status and are also keen to be educated and equipped with the correct knowledge and resources to understand and act upon their HIV status.”