Hout Bay EMS supported by Rotary

Spirit of Rotary

Spirit of Rotary ambulance in Hout Bay

Hout Bay EMS recently visited Rotary to show off their new Hout Bay Ambulance.

The history of Rotary and Hout Bay EMS goes back several years. Two previous ambulances named the Spirit of Rotary were made possible by the fundraising made by Rotary with the Hout Bay community.

The nature of ambulances are that as high speed vehicles they are often in accidents themselves and out last ambulance was written off at least once in accidents. Also because the ambulance had been donated back to the municipality, Hout Bay had no say in where the ambulance went and often the ambulance was on the wrong side of the mountain when it was desperately needed.

This situation all changed when Hout Bay EMS were able to find a major sponsor willing to give enough money for a complete vehicle. Rotary Hout Bay came to the party by helping with refitting costs, and by helping with the defibrallator machine as well as the trunking radio system which allows better communication between the ambulance, paramedics and the base station.

Mobile Fight HIV/AIDS in Mpika District

© UNICEF video
Rose Namilinga tests a young couple for HIV; both are negative. She also talks to them about planning for the future.

By Christyne Bahringer

MPIKA, Zambia, 11 March 2008 – One in five pregnant women in Zambia is HIV-positive. It is a heart-stopping figure, but it also explains the increasing rates of paediatric HIV that doctors are facing in hospitals and clinics across the country.

In Lusaka, the capital, recent data from the University Teaching Hospital indicate that an estimated 40 per cent of all infants and children admitted to the malnutrition ward are HIV-positive. This information has been gathered as a result of the hospital’s policy of offering voluntary HIV testing for every mother, infant and child who is admitted.

Such critical details on HIV are not available throughout Zambia, however. Outside of urban centres such as Lusaka and Ndola, families lack easy access to hospitals and clinics. For example, in Zambia’s largest district, Mpika – home to about 165,000 people – there is just one government hospital, Mpika District Hospital, and one doctor, Mulindwa Tarcis.

Reaching the most vulnerable

Known and respected throughout the district, Dr. Tarcis is surrounded by some of the most capable and dedicated nurses and community health workers anywhere. Together, he and his team tirelessly reach out to the people of Mpika, especially mothers and children vulnerable to HIV and AIDS.

Last year, UNICEF helped Dr. Tarcis organize a mobile HIV/AIDS unit to reach the most vulnerable. He recruited some of his best staff for the innovative project.

“There are no decent roads into the district, and no one has transportation anyway,” said Bowas Lukama, who now coordinates the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Mpika. “So UNICEF donated the vehicle and some supplies to get us started. Now we travel the district regularly, visiting the 19 health posts throughout the area. Sometimes, we arrive to queues of over 100 people waiting to be tested.”

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