In 2003, Dr Rudie and Marlice van Vuuren, with Chris Heunis and the vital support of investors and donors, including Jan Verburg and Burgland Charitas, opened the Lifeline Clinic.
The Clinic is based in the village of Epukiro (also known as Pos 3) and provides free health care to the local San population. The need for this basic but comprehensive health facility was made apparent after the tragic and unnecessary death of a San baby in 2003.
The San community remain marginalised and discriminated against leading to abject poverty, lack of education and poor health. Common health problems include malnutrition, wounds, gastrointestinal disease, respiratory disease and Tuberculosis.
Since its opening the clinic has grown and the staff now consists of 2 doctors, 1 nurse, 1 receptionist and 4 translators. Together they provide free health care to more than 3,500 patients every year. Read more about the clinical services with the clinical reports.
As well as examining and treating patients at the clinic, we transport those who are in need of urgent medical attention to the nearest hospital in Gobabis 120km away. Many of the San population live scattered remotely throughout the region and so often have to travel large distances (up to 200km) to reach the clinic. For this reason we undertake regular outreach sessions to various locations in order to reach those most at need.
Other ongoing projects include a refeeding programme for malnourished children, provision of milk for orphaned babies and health education sessions every other week at mother and baby afternoons.
The Lifeline Clinic and its work is entirely funded by voluntary donations and, as well as the full time staff, receives further support from short term foreign volunteers.
We were honoured to receive international recognition for the work we do at the International Health Promotion Awards in December 2010. At the ceremony in Rome, Italy, we were awarded first place in the prestigious Community Health Awards.
The N/a’an ku se Lifeline fund – Inspired by people like Jostaphine
Jostaphine was a 10 year old San girl from Gobabis who enjoyed playing with her siblings and going to school.
She was brought to N/a’an ku sê’s Lifeline Clinic by her father as she had constant tummy ache. N/a’an ku sê’s doctor arranged for her to be taken to Gobabis Hospital and she was then transferred to Katatura State Hospital, in Windhoek. Here she underwent further tests and was sadly found to have ovarian cancer, an extremely rare diagnosis in a child of her age. Jostaphine’s ovarian cancer was terminal and she died shortly after her diagnosis.
We fought to make the rest of her days the best we could and need your help building up our funds in our N/a’an ku sê Lifeline Fund for the future. Funds from the NLF will also go on to help other people in need in the San Bushmen community in the future.