As part of Philips’ sixth consecutive Cape Town to Cairo roadshow, Philips South Africa and the Rhiza Foundation have launched their Mobile Clinic project to deliver basic primary healthcare to thousands of people living in townships with little or no access to healthcare facilities.

The collaboration, which includes corporate social investment partners Nozala Trust and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), has deployed the Mobile Clinic to service the populous townships of Diepsloot, Cosmo City and Orange Farm, in Northern Johannesburg.

The Mobile Clinic vehicle, which is custom built on a mid-sized truck frame, operates as a “mini-health clinic on wheels” and provides a versatile platform to deliver primary healthcare services, education and counselling. Measuring 10 meters by 2.5 meters, the Mobile Clinic is divided into two parts: a maternal and child care section and a dental care section.

As the clinical technology partner in this project, Philips has equipped the Mobile Clinic with its ultra-mobile VISIQ ultrasound, which is the size of a tablet. Approximately ten times smaller than a traditional ultrasound machine and with reduced energy consumption, the VISIQ ultrasound is ideally tailored for the Mobile Clinic and will be used for screening, triage and fetal assessments, all of which helps to address the critical issue of maternal and infant care prevalent across South Africa.

In addition, other diagnostic and maternal imaging technology such as the Philips Avalon Fetal Monitor (FM20) – to detect the baby’s heart beat and the uterus contractions and a Goldway Colposcope, to capture live images of the cervix have also been installed in the Mobile Clinic. Philips plasma screens with DVD player will be used to show patients educational videos when they visit the Mobile Clinic.

“In many African countries, including SA, there is a chronic shortage of suitable equipment or necessary skills to facilitate safe delivery and appropriate newborn care, as well as dental care. By bringing healthcare directly to those most in need, it will shorten the waiting period and improves access, which ultimately saves lives” said General Manager, Philips Healthcare, Southern Africa, Jose Fernandes.

Innovation as a means to improve people’s lives is at the heart of who we are at Philips and we increasingly seek engagement and co-creation opportunities with organisations like the Rhiza Foundation that can result in making a difference in the lives of South African citizens,” continued Fernandes.

The Mobile Clinic will be staffed by an-all women team consisting of a registered nurse, a dental therapist, a dental assistant and a driver/assistant, as one of the goals of the project is to empower and uplift women.

The Mobile Clinic has the capacity to relocate without difficulty, allowing for increased patient care coverage. The clinic aims to enable treatment of hundreds of patients every month, with plans to scale up to include more mobile clinics (five over the next five years in different communities) based on the outcomes of the initial pilot.

Chairman and Founder of Rhiza Foundation, Alef Meulenberg, said: “Rhiza stands for community development at large, through education, skills and enterprise development as well as primary healthcare that makes a sustainable difference in township communities in Johannesburg and Cape Town.”

“Our goal is to make people self-sustaining, through our holistic approach regarding community and socio- economic development. We are extremely proud of the Mobile Clinic and are confident that it will provide and improve primary healthcare in township communities that currently lack regular access to these services,” continued Meulenberg.

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