Mobile Health Clinics teams up with Bayer South Africa to launch a new Schools Health Programme in Gauteng
Mobile Health Clinics, an NPO that operates mobile health clinics for children in no-fee schools, has announced that it will be introducing a new programme, the Integrated Schools Health Programme with support from Bayer South Africa .
Bayer is a life science company and a global leader in healthcare and nutrition. Bayer products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, endeavouring to create value through innovation, growth and corporate social engagements.
Bayer has put in place several strategies that aim to increase positive social impact in communities. At the heart of one of these strategies is promoting access to affordable healthcare – the single most important factor affecting people’s well-being. One of these strategic initiatives is the partnership with the Mobile Health Clinic Foundation.
The programme, which will be launched at 10am on Thursday, 16 March 2023 at the Blair Atholl Primary Farm School in Lanseria, is the latest initiative by the organisation, which was founded in 2019.
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Mobile Health Clinics (MHC) provides free primary healthcare services for learners in disadvantaged communities with the aim of identifying and treating healthcare barriers to learning. Its services have been designed to support the South African Integrated School Health Policy which, among other things, focuses on detecting easily correctable health impairments that may impact on learning.
“Our services are also aligned to World Health Organisation guidelines and the SDG framework,” says Adv. B.N. Buthelezi, Founding Member and Chair of the organisation, “and, as such, are an expression of both local and international best practice is this vital area of healthcare.”
The WHO defines a school health programme as a combination of services to ensure the physical, mental and social well-being of learners in order to optimise their learning capabilities and educational experience. Informed by this objective, MHC’s unique model specifically focuses on providing services in peri-urban, rural and remote communities, which are frequently underserved.
“Our sole objective is to improve access to quality healthcare and provide educational support for children in poor communities, “ says Dr Rosy Ndhlovu, also a Founding Member and MHC’s Vice Chair. “Nearly 9 million children depend on public services for their healthcare needs, which means that government’s Integrated School Health Programme is hard pushed to reach all of those who require regular assessment and care. And as we believe that every child deserves access to quality healthcare and education, that’s where we step in to fill the gaps.”
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MHC’s track record of care speaks for itself. Since 2019, it has conducted nearly 25 000 school health screening visits in 103 schools. These visits have included 361 000 clinical treatments, 16 000 eye tests and nearly 21 000 dental treatments.
In addition to these services, MHC provides healthcare education for learners and counselling for educators and administrators, offering an integrated primary healthcare solution to schools most in need. “In 2022 alone, our mobile clinics clocked up 7 545kms traveling to underserved schools, which is nearly twice the circumference of the globe,” says Dr Ndhlovu. No mean feat.
To date, the majority of schools served have been in Northern Cape and North West, with only 12 schools in Gauteng having been reached so far. Now, in partnership with Bayer, MHC is rolling out its tried-and-tested model in the country’s most populous province.
Children will also benefit from MHC’s supplementary programmes, including its Learner Assistance Programme, which focuses on renovating maths, science and technology labs in the schools it serves and on providing mobile labs and desks for use in these labs. This is supported by a programme of Career Days for older learners, which are designed to provide information about the world of career opportunities in these fields. They include exposure to and engagement with companies that learners would not normally have access to.
“In support of our Bayer vision, ‘Health for all, hunger for none’ – we support projects by charities, social innovators and non-profit-organizations which tackle the root causes of inequalities and enable sustainable impact for change, especially in underprivileged communities. Access to health is not just about connecting schools with opportunities, it also extends directly to the communities. This programme demonstrates the power of access where resources are used to make our communities more inclusive and provides access to an affordable, healthier, and happier lifestyle for children in underserved areas. Through this programme, we are also contributing to our global sustainability goal of enabling 100 million low-and middle-income earners access to affordable healthcare.
Guided by our purpose ‘Science for a better life’, we strive to put an end to hunger and helping everyone lead a healthy life”, says Mamati Tembe, Head of Public Affairs, Science and Sustainability at Bayer South Africa.
“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing healthy children flourish in a quality learning environment,” says Dr Ndhlovu, “so we’re really excited by this partnership with Bayer and are looking forward to taking our services into schools in disadvantaged communities.”