It won’t come as a surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic is endangering the health of many people worldwide. However, there is even greater risk to those who are immunocompromised, like those living with HIV in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. With this in mind, we were compelled to help in South Africa’s vaccination efforts, which have faced many challenges and obstacles in remote and rural portions of the country.
We led vaccination support for the over 60s community members in OR Tambo, which is largely made of up of rural communities with poor access to healthcare services and is widely considered the most poverty-stricken region in the Eastern province of South Africa. The over-60s have little or no internet access for registration of COVID-19 vaccination and equally cannot walk long distances to reach a vaccine centre.
We focused our resources on helping over 60s get to and from the vaccine centres. Many had been unable to get to the vaccination centres due to transport challenges, so we provided essential transportation for both legs of the journey. We followed the vaccination team as they rotated all 4 clinics in our catchment area: Canzibe hospital, Pilani Clinic, Lwandile Clinic and Mgojweni clinic.
We are delighted that we have helped over 45,000 people from across the region reach the vaccine centres!
Finally, our team organised community registration for those who didn’t have internet access. To enable operations to continue to run efficiently after our support ended, we also purchased and donated laptops and tablets to the vaccine sites so that they could continue with patient registration independently.
We are hoping to continue assisting the vaccination programme in the coming phases (over 40s and then the wider general population) to ensure that all our clients and community members have access to this vital protection.