On September 29, businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates published an article on Linked IN titled “When Patients Know Best”. In this article, which confronts the ongoing HIV & AIDS crises in Africa, Gates explains how he met with doctor’s in Tanzania to discuss the challenges of treating more people with the affordable HIV medication ARV (antiretroviral medication), and was appalled by the fact that only half of the 37 million people living with HIV & AIDS are receiving treatment. Naturally, Gates was after a solution. Doctors Without Borders, who have worked in Mozambique since 2003 on HIV related healthcare issues, seemed to have found him one.
The agency pointed out that 30% of patients drop out of treatment, often due to the challenge of having to walk for hours every month in order to receive treatments and medications. Their solution was to form small groups of HIV patients in rural communities who encourage one another and take turns each month on the long track to pick up the meds to be distributes to the whole group. The project was given the name ART groups, and according to Gates “reduced wait times” and “eased the burden on the country’s overloaded healthcare system, giving staff more time to focus on patients who needed the most help.”
The problem with this model: patients only receive a medical check-up once every six months. Further, there is no formula offered for health education, testing, counselling, or preventative measures in those communities unreached by medical care. Another problem with this model is access to testing: many HIV & AIDS infected people either do not have access to testing, or are too afraid of the stigma surrounding HIV & AIDS to be tested.
WOW mobile medical clinics boldly confront all of these barriers in Zambia.
Rather than walking for miles, WOW brings the medical team along with a host of other medical services to those living with HIV & AIDS with our mobile medical clinics. Most importantly, WOW provides HIV & AIDS testing and debunks myths surrounding HIV & AIDS which keeps infected people from taking the test. This is the first step to getting the treatment they need.
Last year alone, WOW regularly visited 18 rural communities in Zambia, treating more than 29,990 patients. WOW not only offered medical treatment of HIV & AIDS, but also treated a range of other medical ailments, as well as offering health education before every clinic, testing, and counselling services.
Clinics cost just $4-5 per visit per patient, $1130 a month to operate, or $13,560 per clinic per year.
This October 22, our WOW Team is running in the Scotia Bank Marathon in Toronto to fund our WOW Mobile Medical Clinics for the year.
Why not save a life by support our team members today?