20 May 2015

Philips and the Rhiza Foundation Pilot their Mobile Health Clinic in South Africa

Philips South Africa and the Rhiza Foundation launched their mobile health clinic project focusing on delivering basic primary healthcare to thousands of people living in townships that have little or no access to healthcare facilities.


A collaboration between Philips South Africa, Rhiza Foundation and corporate social investment partners Nozala Trust and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the mobile health clinic is currently being deployed to service the populous townships of Diepsloot, Cosmo City and Orange Farm, in Northern Johannesburg.

The mobile health clinic vehicle, custom built on a mid-sized truck frame, operates as a “mini-health clinic on wheels” and provides an extremely versatile platform to deliver primary health care services, education and counseling. 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.

Maternal screening allows for early detection of complications

According to the Philips Fabric of Africa trends report, women in Africa are at significant risk of premature death, with particular high mortality rates recorded in pregnancy. Women in semi-urban and rural areas across South Africa (in fact all of Africa) often die due to preventable complications during child birth as they have no access to ultrasound screenings to detect critical conditions. Many of these deaths can be diagnosed with basic imaging technology.

Philips has championed the UN Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, related to reducing child mortality and improving maternal health; and the “mobile clinic” project conceptualized by the Rhiza Foundation offered a good synergy to address the issue of maternal and infant mortality.

Coming on board as the clinical technology partner in this project, Philips has equipped the Mobile Clinic with its innovative VISIQ ultrasound; the size of a tablet, the VISIQ is the first ultra-mobile ultrasound system from Philips. 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 well-being scans, 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 South Africa, 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, shortens the waiting period and improves access which ultimately saves lives” states Jose Fernandes, General Manager, Philips Healthcare, Southern Africa. “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 organizations like the Rhiza Foundation that can result in making a difference in the lives of South Africa citizens.”

The Mobile Clinic will be staffed by an-all women team 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; this is the first pilot launch; the ambition is to scale it up to include more mobile clinics (five over the next five years in different communities) on the outcomes of the initial pilot launched today.

Alef Meulenberg, Chairman and Founder of Rhiza Foundation states, “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 that the Mobile Clinic in collaboration with Philips and our other partners is being launched today; we are confident that it will provide and improve primary healthcare in township communities that currently lack regular access to these services.”

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Source: HIT Consultant