Monday, August 1, 2016

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities!

Dear Friends, 

The health and well being of every child is important for children to lead an innovative and successful life. However, research from the Zimbabwe Demographic Survey shows that 84 out of every 1,000 children are likely to pass away before they reach five years old. Most of these deaths are due to infectious diseases that could be treated with the right primary health care. These deaths do not allow Zimbabwean children to live the full and prosperous lives they deserve. Most of these diseases go untreated because of the lack of doctors in the clinics and inability for parents to pay for a visit to the doctor. 

In 2010 the World Health Organization reported that Zimbabwe had less than two doctors for every 10,000 people. The price to visit a general practitioner in Zimbabwe is now at $35 with further visits for the same illness is another $30 per visit. Then, if someone needed to see a doctor during the weekend it would cost $60, and $70 for night visits. These prices do not even include medication costs. With an unemployment rate of 92 percent in Zimbabwe, and wages as low as $382 per month and a familial living cost of about $655 per month, many Zimbabweans do not have the financial stability to pay for doctor’s visits. 

In order to try and bridge this gap, the Nhaka Foundation has worked with local clinics and their nurses to carry out health assessments for ECD students in the schools they sponsor. The Nhaka team, along with a nurse goes to the schools and assesses the children’s health. Each child’s height and weight are recorded, and then the nurse tests the child’s heart rate, eyesight, and hearing. The nurse also inspects them for ringworm, which is becoming an overwhelming problem in rural schools, and other skin conditions. 

Once all the evaluations are done, the nurse and the team evaluate the results to see if there are any overwhelming problems with the children at the school, which, if any, children are facing malnutrition, and what medications are needed in order to improve the children’s health. The team then tries to come up with innovative ways to help the children be as healthy as possible. 

The Nhaka Foundation strives to “leave a lasting legacy” for the children of Zimbabwe. In order for a legacy to be made, children’s health and well being needs to be looked after. With the help from local clinics and nurses, the Nhaka Foundation strives to make sure the children are happy and healthy so each and every child can leave their own legacy. 

Until next time, 

Katie Shields 
Volunteer Intern