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Volunteer at the N/a’an ku sê Lifeline Clinic and make a difference today!

Being a N/a’an ku sê Medical Volunteer is so much more than just being a medic. Be fully immersed in the culture of Epikuro, home to the San Bushman. Experience day-to-day life and the common struggles faced by the community. Work from within the clinic treating endemic issues like TB and help provide high quality healthcare to those who need it most.

You do not need medical skills. IT, DIY, painting or anything an isolated clinic can use are highly valued.

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During the project you will spend your time at our remote Lifeline Clinic, located in Omawewozonyanda (Pos 3), a rural village within the Epukiro Constituency of the Omaheke Region in which around 500 San and Herero people live.

The Lifeline Clinic treats around 3,500 patients each year. Approximately 80% of our patients are San, and the remainder are mostly Herero and Damara speaking Namibians. TB and HIV are prevalent in the community, as is alcoholism. We also see a lot of patients with aches and pains and everyday problems. Common diseases amongst our child patients include fungal infections, intestinal worms, diarrhea, dehydration, malnutrition and mouth infections (e.g. oral thrush). By themselves, these infections and illnesses may not be particularly severe. However, if left untreated they will get much worse leading to complications and in severe cases even death…read more about the clinical services.

You will help provide primary healthcare to the local community and surrounding areas by assisting our doctors and nurse. You will have the opportunity to provide hands-on support at the clinic, which includes checking measurements such as blood pressure, haemoglobin levels and mid-arm upper circumference, helping run reception and helping in the dispensary.

Your arrival and departure base will be our N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary close to Windhoek Airport. This provides you with the unique opportunity to work with the animals here for a few days. The Lifeline Clinic is approximately a 4-hour drive from the Sanctuary.

Work and activities

You will work alongside the clinic’s doctors and nurse to learn about the common diseases affecting the local population and how to treat them. You will deal closely with patients from the local San community, learn more about their way of life and give care to patients living in extreme poverty at the clinic’s remote location. The teaching will be tailored to your skill level, background and knowledge.

Prospective medical students can expect teaching on basic clinical skills, history taking and examinations of patients. Trained professionals will be asked to run consultations with patients and assist during the outreach work. This will provide a great opportunity for trained professionals to have a greater impact on the people who are most in need of help.

Depending on the length of your stay and medical knowledge, you may be asked to undertake a research project/assignment. This should be something that you are interested in, as well as be something that is useful to the clinic and of benefit to our patients. Examples of projects include mapping distances patients travel to the clinic and local patterns of disease, rates of TB amongst our patients and compliance with medication, and our patients’ knowledge of HIV transmission and disease.

Whatever your background or experience, you shall assist with the daily duties which may include:

  • Primary Healthcare: observations, reassurance to patients, treatments and emergency referrals;
  • Observations: pregnancy and urine tests for patients and recording findings;
  • Weighing babies and recording growth charts;
  • Blood pressure recordings;
  • Glucose testing and recordings;
  • Wound dressings and cleaning of wounds;
  • Help in the pharmacy: stock control, packing medicines and new orders;
  • Family planning;
  • Substance abuse counselling;
  • Data capture input;
  • General maintenance and cleaning of the clinic; and
  • Helping with projects around the clinic such as the vegetable garden.

Volunteers often have special skills that are invaluable to the clinic and we encourage you to use them and suggest new activities that you feel the project will benefit from.

Please note: Itineraries and activities are subject to change.

Food and accommodation

While volunteering at the Lifeline Clinic you will stay in a bungalow house along with the resident doctor and nurse. Depending on volunteer numbers, you will have a room to yourself or share with another volunteer of the same gender. The house has a kitchen, bathroom and living room (with TV). Electricity and hot water are freely available.

Three meals a day are provided, which you prepare yourself together with your housemates. The evenings are free for relaxation from approximately 5pm, as are weekends. Free time can be spent visiting the local San Bushman village, playing with the local children or walking in the local area.

For any question related to Medical Volunteering, please consult the FAQ pages or email rebecca@naankuse.com or sarah@naankuse.com