The Lifeline Clinic based in Epukiro provides free primary health care services to more than 3,500 patients every year – through both clinic-based healthcare and our outreach around the region. More than 40% of the patients treated there are children and more than 90% are San Bushmen. A huge focus of our work at the Lifeline Clinic is to tackle the tuberculosis burden within the San population. The clinic is quite literally a lifeline for thousands of San Bushman.
The clinic consists of two doctors, one nurse, one receptionist, and four translators. Medical volunteers are the lifeblood of the Lifeline Clinic. You will be fully immersed in the culture of Epukiro, home to the San Bushmen. Experience day-to-day life and the common struggles faced by the community.
Volunteer at the N/a’an ku sê Lifeline Clinic and make a difference today!
You do not need medical skills. IT, DIY, painting or anything an isolated clinic can use are highly valued.
During this time 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
Your arrival and departure base will be our Naankuse 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.
Daily activities could include:
• Helping within the clinic to treat endemic issues like TB
• Providing food and care to the community
• Going on outreach to bring high-quality healthcare to those who need it most.
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.
– Transfers to the clinic depart from the sanctuary every second Sunday and arriving back on the sanctuary on the Friday of the following week. Please check fixed dates here.
– 12-night minimum stay
Accommodation, food and other facilities
- Rooms are usually single rooms unless friends want to share.
- All food is provided, volunteers are expected to play a vital part in the cleaning and cooking duties.
- Most dietary requirements can be catered for.
- We have a washing machine that volunteers can use.
Limited cell-phone reception, Wi-Fi is available