A three-person team from COHSASA travelled to Windhoek and Walvis Bay in Namibia recently to assess to what extent the current SafeCare standards might be adapted for use in mobile clinics operating under the Mister Sister Mobile Health Service and North Star Alliance banners. A first draft of the revised standards has been compiled and pilots are planned to test the standards in baseline surveys at selected clinics.

During the first reconnaissance visit, Mrs Lyn Rayment (COHSASA Standards Development Co-ordinator) introduced the standards to representatives of PharmAccess, North Star Alliance and Mister Sister Mobile Health Service. Also present were the regional director and four representatives from the Primary Health Care Services of the Ministry of Health and Social Services of Namibia. The standards’ introduction process served to identify which standards and criteria would be suitable for mobile clinics. It was learned that the term “mobile” could apply to specially fitted vehicles, containers that are moved from site to site and a few fixed site clinics offering limited service. The clinics were not surveyed for scores but to determine which criteria and standards were applicable, which were inappropriate and which would need to be added for a full set of standards for mobile clinics. Areas for improvement that have already been identified include record-keeping, policies on creating awareness of the services that are provided, temperature evaluation for medication storage, management of expired stock and expansion of patient catchment.

The Mister Sister Mobile Health Service Clinic in Windhoek

Says Lyn Rayment, “The discussions which took place at the introductory workshop and the visits to the clinics were extremely useful in determining which of the current SafeCare Standards for clinics and health centres could apply to the mobile clinics.  We thank all the participants in the process for their valuable input and look forward to their continued participation in the standards development process and the follow-on procedures in the future.”