Bringing care to the communities
African Leadership Strategic Meeting in Hamburg
African stakeholders, Leaders of various organizations, churches and mosques in the African community in Hamburg, met last Saturday on September 25th 2021 to discuss strategic approaches towards the launching of a medical mobile clinic. The mobile clinic, in this case a vehicle fitted with all medical equipments would provide free health screening, prevention, education, and basic health services to underserved population.
Healthcare is a universal human right. Many people in our community don’t know their right or are denied this right. The African population in Hamburg is about 51000. Even, according to the Statistischsamt Ausländische Bevölkerung Hamburg dated 31.12.2017 the population of Ghanaian residents is 13263. Case study and internal observations in the community indicate that Africans here have poor health conditions and high death rate. Many of them were recently found dead in their apartments. The ages of most of the deceased are between 30 and 60 years. They mostly died from heart related diseases such as stroke, hypertension/ high blood pressure, diabetics, obesity, asthma and several other conditions.
Mr. Wilberforce Osei Tutu, General Secretary, GESAH
Many illnesses disproportionately affect certain populations, due to disparities in healthcare access and social determinants of health. These disparities represent a key area to target in order to better our nation’s overall health. ‘It is thus imperative for policymakers and health professionals to develop innovative interventions that sustainably manage chronic diseases, promote preventative health, and improve outcomes among communities’, Mr. Osei Tutu described during his presentation.
The mission of the Mobile Medical program is to build relationships with African people in Hamburg by providing patient-led health and social services, meeting people where they are, and fostering health and well-being.
Ghana Ex-Servicemen Association Hamburg e.V (GESAH) developed the mission for mobile medical clinic for the African community and supported by meinediaspora.de held their first strategic planning on Saturday, 25th September 2021.
Dr. Stephanie Nsiah-Dosu, Founder & President of YAPA Germany
Dr. Stephanie Nsiah-Dosu, president of YAPA Germany, delivered a 25-minute opening keynote address on "Thinking beyond medical care accessibility," in which she raised health awareness and addressed the importance of preventive care, citing published data. She spoke about access to health care in Germany and the law that allows access for undocumented immigrants. "Time is health," she stated. She continued that "most people ignore the signs and symptoms of an underlying health condition until it is too late." She concluded her speech with three points. Be aware of your health, have your medical needs heard, and use e-health."
Ms. Irene Appiah of meinediaspora.de, who is part of the event's organizing committee, provided an overview of the project. Mobile Health Clinics (MHCs) are an innovative model of healthcare delivery that could help reduce health disparities among vulnerable populations and people with chronic diseases. Ms. Appiah provided insight into what such a mobile clinic should offer. They would provide access to health care, especially for displaced or isolated individuals; they would be versatile when health care infrastructure is damaged or inadequate; and, as a long-standing model of community-based service delivery, they would fill gaps in the health care safety net and reach socioeconomically underserved populations in both urban and rural areas. People without health insurance are welcome to have free participation in certain programs. The mobile clinic can be equipped with almost any medical equipment available in inpatient hospitals or specialty practices: General practitioners, emergency physicians, dentists, ophthalmologists, gynecologists, ENT specialists, laboratory physicians, pulmonologists, orthopedists, occupational physicians. Patients at the mobile clinic can take advantage of primary care for conditions such as:
Cold symptoms, including coughs, earaches, sinus issues, and sore throats
Diabetes, such as blood sugar checks, education and prescriptions for blood sugar control medications
High blood pressure, including pressure checks and prescriptions for medications
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
From left to right: Ms. Cynthia, N. Opoku-Mensah, Irene Appiah
The mobile clinic would travel to churches, mosques, African gatherings and underserved areas to provide health care for all," she explained.
The use of the mobile medical clinic was positively received by all the guests present. Hayford Aniyidoo from Ossara e.V. and also a member of YAPA Germany praised the greatness of the ideas and added that it is important to make the project known via all platforms possible. He added that since some African countries are not represented at the meeting, it is important to make the project known to them, thereby uniting Africans for this project. The discussion was led by Mrs. Charity Asare and well supported by all the leaders present. But how much would such a vehicle cost? asked one of the leaders. Mr. Godfred Schulz, YAPA's Zone Manager for Hamburg, addressed the need for a strategic plan to start this project. He said, "The communities need to come together and have something to offer to attract investors."
Left: Pastor Benjamin Mensah from Church of Pentecost, Godfred Schulz, YAPAs Zone Manager Hamburg (right)
The discussion was closed with set up on a committee that will meet soon for designing the steps towards this goal.
Dr. Victoria Manu concluded by talking about health, the importance of hydration and vitamin D intake. She said, "Our skin is such that we do not absorb enough vitamin D abroad, and emphasized taking vitamin D supplements. She briefly mentioned the effects of vitamin D on COVID-19'.
Dr. Victoria Manu, renowned Ghanaian dentist in Hamburg, Germany
Understanding the economic and social impact that mobile clinics are having in our communities should provide the evidence to justify policies that will enable expansion and optimal integration of mobile clinics into our healthcare delivery system, and help us address current and future health crises. The event was sponsored by Hamburger Bürgerstiftung.
copyright YAPA Germany
written by YAPA Germany Publishers