Free medical care for the underserved population in South Africa

The event included blood pressure, glucose, HIV and optometry tests

On May 4, Women In Action (WiA)  — held the “Health Care Campaign” event in Johannesburg, South Africa. With the support of a mobile clinic installed in the parking lot from the Universal Cathedral in Soweto, the initiative provided free, quality medical assistance to the region’s needy population.

Women In Action — formed by wives of Church pastors — develops several social actions in the country to support those most in need. Especially in this action, the group — in partnership with institutions, clinics and health professionals — provided, in a welcoming environment, consultations with 27 doctors and nurses, who carried out blood pressure, glucose, HIV and optometry tests. In total, 381 people benefited.

During screenings offered in the “Health Care Campaign,” organizers reported that they identified prevalent clinical issues such as hypertension and high glucose levels, highlighting the critical need for such proactive initiatives.

A study published in the Cardiovascular Journal of Africa in May 2021 revealed that every hour, five South Africans suffer a stroke; and ten, a heart attack.

The person responsible for WiA, Márcia Pires, says that in the work carried out with women in South Africa, especially those who are already mothers, it is observed that all their concern is focused on their children, they sacrifice themselves for them. “Most don’t go to the doctor, don’t seek help, because, in their minds, they have to be strong for them. And, often, when a health problem is identified, it is already at an advanced stage and they lose their lives.”

“With these actions, we show that for her [the mother] to be able to donate to the family, she needs to be well. We have been able to help several women who, instead of having a worsened physical condition, the disease was detected in time and are undergoing treatment and recovery”, says Márcia.

Considering that many people are unaware of places where they can seek medical help, without facing high costs associated with exams and consultations, the main objective of the event was to provide a platform so that everyone — regardless of social level — could access essential information and consult health experts.

“I have sight problems and the mobile clinic has helped me immensely. I am grateful for the assistance I received,” said Emily Khumalo, who performed the on-site eye assessment.

Nompi Mantumba had the opportunity to take an HIV test, free of charge and in privacy. For her, “understanding her condition is vital to make certain decisions”.

The fear of what might be discovered during exams, combined with the lack of emotional support, causes many to avoid clinics and hospitals. Therefore, volunteers from the WiA group also provided counseling during the event, aiming to help people face the emotional and psychological challenges often associated with disease diagnoses.