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Rotary Club of Edmonton Glenora
Avenue of Service: International Service Area of Focus: Disease Prevention and Treatment
Country: South Africa City/Region: Ndawana
Project Description
Edzimkulu is a project which our club became involved in in early 2005 . The following gives a bit of the story. In 2003 Jim & Chris Newton had a dream about making a difference in some tangible way in the AIDS pandemic in Africa .They weren’t sure how but they held that dream tightly. They were driven to make a difference.Their strength and passion gathered people around them both here and in South Africa, The people of Ndawana supported by Canadian volunteers, & financial resources ( including monies and a volunteer from Edmonton Glenora Rotary Club) , built a community centre that included a health clinic, library, pre-school and workshop.Our three main objectives were – health, education & sustainability - health was paramount & remains even more so today. With SA home to the world’s largest population living with AIDS -5.7 million- our work remains vital .Stigma- which comes from fear, shame, lack of understanding, cultural myths - is one of the most significant obstacles in a solution to AIDS in Africa. And for those who manage to find their courage to get tested and access treatment, healthcare delivery in the rural areas is scarce & inadequate at best. Our club has been supportive in many ways. We have provided monies for school uniforms ,educational materials, school lunch programs and supportive family initiatives ,We,together with Edmonton West put together a 12 tonne container of medical supplies, sports equipment, school and craft supplies,clothing , kitchen ware to assist in the community development effort in South Africa. we did this in partnership with the Howick Rotary club in Kwa -Zulu Natal. Several other Edmonton Clubs have supported the good works of Edzimkulu over the years for which we are very grateful. This organization is thriving and has been recognized on several occasions by the Govt of South Africa as best practice in community based health care in a rural setting .
Project Partners and Funding
Total Project Budget: $0.00
Partner Type Amount
Total Funding: $0
Project Results
In 2004 a mobile clinic visited the village of Ndawana once every month or two to provide minimal treatment for a vast array of illnesses. Today we are a fully recognized health clinic with over 1,000 patient visits a month.We have 2 full-time nurses,a part time doctor and 25 community health workers who span out across the village of 4,000. In 2004 no one uttered the words HIV. Today, more than 80% of Ndawana has been tested. Even better-the percentage of patients on HIV treatment is 3 times higher than the rest of KZN In 2004 they were half a dozen funerals every week. Today we see a 70% reduction in short term death rates. More children are raised by their parents and not orphaned to be raised by overburdened Grandmothers. We have made significant progress.The societal ripple effect is huge. In 2004 we wanted to build capacity, we wanted to have people trained, we wanted a good health centre. Today it is a real tribute to the leaders in the village for they are taking responsibility for encouraging people to be tested and treated to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS . Women are working in their neighbourhoods supporting and nurturing their community. They have been empowered & now are working tirelessly to empower others. The word about our success spread, other villages became interested. Edzimkulu partnered with DOH to deliver HIV outreach in 10 neighbouring communities. It is exciting to know that we are positively affecting thousands more lives as we have moved from a small rural village of 4000 to more than 100,000 in our health district through the training & mentoring of health workers. In 2004 the mortality rate of children under five was high and 75% of the children were not growing adequately. Today we are leaders in the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness.-a United Nations initiative. Edzimkulu is widely recognized as the single best model in the entire country for providing home based access to early interventions around HIV, TB, malnutrition diarrhea and pneumonia . We now have 350 children under the age of 5 who are weighed monthly and mothers are given nutritional counselling . In 2004 we had a dream of moving from aid to development to sustainability and we’re almost there! As we have seen over & over again with organizations working in the developing world : one can leave too early and disrupt or even discontinue vital services or stay too long and create unhealthy dependencies . We’ve been very cognizant about this over the years and we feel clear that the right time to leave is approaching. Our road to success has not been without challenge. We’ve lost many dear friends to AIDS. We’ve faced the challenges of crumbling infrastructure, bureaucratic indifference &residual apartheid attitudes. And then there are the day to day challenges of poor roads,vehicle breakdowns and extreme weather and so on - all while facing especially difficult economic times. In 2009 a devastating fire destroyed all but one of our community centre buildings, including the clinic. It did not, however, destroy our spirit nor the resolve of the people of Ndawana. Since the fire, the clinic has been functioning in a temporary building. We’ve just finished rebuilding a training centre and meeting place using bricks salvaged from the fire. We’ve begun rebuilding the preschool and kitchen and we’re in the planning stages to rebuild the clinic. We are working closely with the DoH on succession planning. We are certain that the years of partnership, friendship and the remarkable contribution of countless people both here and there will leave a permanent legacy.
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