Annual Health Screenings in Moshi Reveal Improvements
Health is a human right, no matter where in the world you live. But for people with disabilities in Tanzania, accessing health care is often easier said than done.
Poor road infrastructure and inaccessible transit make it challenging for people with disabilities to reach the hospital. Many people with visible disabilities are not registered at birth and have no birth certificate, which is a requirement to enroll in the government’s national health insurance plan.
Stigma plays a role in health care inaccessibility, as well. Some families are unwilling to bring their loved one with disabilities into health care facilities due to fear of their community’s reaction.
Building a Caring Community (BCC)’s preventative health program, PROMOT Health, helps children with disabilities in Moshi overcome these challenges through annual health screenings, which bring medical care directly to the children at the centers.
With two pediatricians and a lab technician in tow, every October BCC staff spend four weeks traveling to different centers, as well as to the homes of children who are unable to visit a center, to ensure health care is accessible to all.
Through a partnership with local hospital Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Clinic (KCMC), BCC was able to facilitate doctors’ appointments and laboratory testing for 175 children with intellectual disabilities over the course of the past month.
Although annual health screenings are not new to BCC, the 2018 screenings saw a number of firsts.
Most significantly, 2018 marked the first year pediatricians participated in the health screenings, ensuring BCC participants were getting child-specific care. Improved documentation in 2018 also means doctors will have access to more detailed medical history in future years.
Improvements were not limited to medical care and attendance. In past years, delays in prescription writing and challenges sourcing medication meant some clients had to wait up to 10 days to receive the medication prescribed during their screening appointment. Following the 2018 screenings, those served received their medications within 36 hours, with most receiving their medications in under 12 hours.
The annual health screenings are also an opportunity for BCC to gauge the success of the PROMOT Health program’s activities. This year’s results tell us that efforts to increase fluid intake for BCC clients have paid off.
Last year, 50 clients were diagnosed with urinary tract infections (UTIs) during the health screenings, but after one year of programs aiming to decrease UTI rates, BCC managed to nearly cut the number of children and young adults diagnosed with UTIs in half.
The 2018 health screenings not only saw improved health for clients, but client attendance reached an all-time high, indicating that Mosaic and BCC are providing quality health care in an accessible environment to more clients than ever before.
Thanks to Mosaic’s support of BCC’s PROMOT Health program, children and young adults with intellectual disabilities in Moshi are able to access health care that is adapted to their specific needs, ensuring those served can live a life of possibilities.