This is a fantastic remote medicine job opportunity to work with the remarkable San Bushmen in our well-resourced Lifeline clinic in rural Namibia. We are looking for a doctor to start in May 2012 for 1 year or longer.
The clinic was set up in 2003 and is based in Epukiro, approximately 120km North of Gobabis and 400km East of Windhoek. It’s a small community made up of mainly Herero, cattle rearing people, and a small group of San Bushman who are traditionally nomadic hunter gatherers that live in small family groups.
Sadly, San are treated as second or even third class citizens in Namibia and providing free and accessible primary healthcare to this community really is a lifeline to many. People walk hundreds of kilometres to receive medical care when they are sick and unfit to travel these distances. The clinic was set up to provide free medical care to the San Bushmen community. The majority of our patients are San who receive all their treatment free at the clinic (84% of consultations). The rest of the consultations are for fee paying locals, mainly Herero (16%).
The doctor’s role is extensive in nature but is extremely satisfying. The clinic is primarily open Monday- Friday, 8am- 5pm with a lunch break from 1pm-2:30pm. Patients are seen on an open access basis. We also provide an outreach clinic to a large primary school with 150 San pupils and to a village 40 kilometres away. We also run a community program which is in its infancy and consists of training and supporting community health workers in several San Bushman settlements in the area.
Many of the San come from the surrounding regions and may travel several hours to reach us. 40% of the patients we see are children. We see a lot of TB, respiratory infections and diarrhoea. We also see trauma, domestic violence, alcoholism and malnutrition. Patients who need to be admitted to hospital are transferred via our clinic car/ambulance to Gobabis Hospital, 120 km away, mainly on gravel roads. On some occasions they need to be taken straight to Windhoek which is a 4 hour drive away.
Facilities in the clinic are very good and include a microscope, ultrasound machine, computer facilities and the internet. We have a good relationship with the state clinic and mutually support each other. The Lifeline clinic is entirely funded by charitable donations. It is part of the N/a’an ku se foundation which also has a wildlife and conservation sanctuary just outside of Windhoek. The farm is 320 km away from the clinic, mainly on tarmac roads.
The doctor is responsible for the clinic staff, currently consisting of a nurse, receptionist, translator, cleaner and gardener. The doctor works with Anna Daries, our wonderful Namibian nurse who has been with the clinic for approximately eight years. She has good local knowledge of the San community and is well respected by them. The doctor also looks after the medical volunteers who come from all over the world and stay for a period of two weeks upwards, provides teaching & projects for them to undertake and ensures they are looked after. They are vital to the financial aspect of the project. The doctor/ partner picks the volunteers up from the farm and then drops them back at regular two weekly intervals. This also allows for a few days leave from the clinic itself.
Accommodation is attached to the clinic and is shared with the nurse and medical volunteers so there is not a lot of privacy. The accommodation is comfortable with a fully equipped kitchen, electricity, solar heated water, a television, a garden and two small affectionate dogs. Regular visits to Gobabis are undertaken to pick up food and provisions.
Other responsibilities include keeping regular updates for the management team, writing reports to obtain further funding (working with the fundraising manager), ordering the medications for the pharmacy and generally maintaining patient records.
There is often a lot of driving involved, some of it on gravel roads, but the clinic car is a Nissan X-Trail in good condition and reliable and safe to drive. You do need to be able to change a tyre as punctures will occur!
Namibia is one of the safest African countries to visit; the main nuisance is petty crime. Driving around Namibia is quite safe as long as you keep to a sensible speed and avoid driving in the dark. The roads are not busy.
It must be stressed that this is a remote area of Namibia in a small but friendly community. There are frequent power and water cuts particularly in the rainy season. Accommodation and food are all provided. There is also a small monetary remuneration of N$5000/ month (about £400/ month). The job would be suitable for a single doctor or a couple (not necessarily two medics).
This very rewarding role would suit a doctor with a passion for people, who would be prepared for the remoteness and heat of Eastern Namibia and who can be flexible and embrace all aspects of the role.
For more information about N/a’an ku sê please visit www.naankuse.com.
N/a’an ku sê Foundation, P.O. Box 99292, Windhoek, Namibia.
T: +264 (0) 817 438 505