Chisomo Children Club to build clinics for street and vulnerable children

Street and vulnerable children are some of the excluded in health care delivery in the country and Chisomo Children Club (CCC) plans to build 2 clinics in Blantyre and Lilongwe.

CCC has taken the strategic decision to have purpose-built clinics to address ailments currently faced by street and vulnerable children, their immediate families and the community at large.

A study conducted in 2015 by CCC in conjunction with Government of Malawi and UNICEF showed there over 2500 children Blantyre and over 3000 in Lilongwe.

Richard Mdyetseni, Acting Executive Director for Chisomo Children’s Club says “Our analysis of the situation has revealed that most of these children present themselves for treatment late; an indication that such children find it hard to visit public health services probably because of the discrimination and stigma they face in such places.”

The aim of the clinics are to ease access to quality healthcare services for the street children and adolescents CCC deals with.

This comes as the World Street Children Day Commemoration on April 16 gets nearer, one question that begs for answers remain: “Who cares for the health of a streetchild?” Where do these street children sleep? Veranda of your office might be a street kid’s ‘comfy bed’.

It is a tough reality to face and to see and very unbearable. Sleeping on the streets is cold, uncomfortable, and dangerous. And when one is sick, where do they get help? Is there something that you can do to least help?

CCC says it wants to help monitoring the healthcare needs for street children and adolescents in order to accord them quality services.

Mdyetseni says “We know there is need to provide street children and adolescents with requisite psycho-social support, provide sex and drug education that focus upon the prevention of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. Special attention will be given to street girls and their babies.”

Key services on offer will be Malaria testing and treatment, HIV Aids testing and treatment, Counselling, Psychosocial services, injuries treatment, eye testing and eye treatment, STDs testing, skin related diseases treatment, under-five immunization and treatment, nutrition therapy for malnourished under-five among others.

Currently there are no funds earmarked for the construction of the purpose-built clinic. However, CCC has the capacity to raise funds both locally and externally for this purpose.

“We have so far engaged Local-International schools, the Rotary Club, Lions Club, Dossani Trust, Press Trust and the Malawi Chamber of Commerce in local fund raising.” says the Director.

Once completed, the running of the clinic will be through donor-support and partnership with firms that are in the health service provision on mutual arrangements for a specific period.

This will ensure that CCC has no problems of both the operational and programming costs.

Outsourcing management of the clinic in the Public Private Partnership approach will ensure efficient management and sustainability of the project.

In providing these healthcare services, CCC faces a number of challenges including, low staffing (a single nurse has to conduct assessment of patients, dispense drugs and take referral cases to other healthcare centre’s).

Other issues include lack of requisite equipment and supplies; lack of vehicles to take patients for referrals quickly; poor set-up in regard to room that serves as a clinic as the available single room is used for all the services of a clinic including consultation, test, counselling, storage of supplies and equipment, sterilizing of equipment and treatment.

Chisomo Children’s Club (CCC) is a child-rights faith based local NGO, established in 1998 to promote the rights and offer a better future for street- connected and other vulnerable children in Malawi.

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