MobiDiK-Swasiland is mainly a project for the medical care of AIDS-orphans in the country, where the already inadequate state services are not accessible. Together with its partner, Hand in Hand Swaziland (Partnership) the THOMAS ENGEL-Foundation ensures the care of more than 3,000 AIDS orphans. Hand in Hand Swaziland operates predominantly in Shiselweni the remotest and poorest district of the country, in the rural south of Swaziland. The AIDS orphans are taken care of in 100 NCPs (= Neighbourhood Care Points). The facilities are comparable with our day-care centers, but much smaller and more primitive.
The 100 NCPs which are scattered throughout the Kingdom have approximately 700 volunteer caregivers who take care of the of the pre-school age children. The children receive pre-school classes and a hot meal for lunch. In the afternoon the children return to their huts, where older siblings, grandmothers or other parishioners look after them.
The "heart and soul" of Hand in Hand Swaziland is the local Managing Director Tihlobotakhe Zulu. He is well known and popular in the Shiselweni district and is therefore a very much sought-after partner, especially for those who are in great distress, and that is the majority of the population.
Hand in Hand Swaziland also operates a farm. It is used mainly for the supply corn, beans, bananas and peanuts for the NCP’s.
The children who are taken care of by the Hand in Hand Swaziland are no longer dying of starvation, but they still die due to ordinary diseases, such as infections, which are sometimes caused by uncared wounds, because a major deficit is the very underdeveloped medical care. The Rural clinics which are totally overstrained are run by nurses. It is almost impossible for the children from the NCP’s to reach such a clinic due to the lack of transportation. That is why Hand in Hand Swaziland and the THOMAS ENGEL-Foundation started the mobile medical service MobiDiK (Mobile Service for Children in the German language).
Now we have a rugged, all-terrain ambulance in the field with a registered nurse and her assistant. They visit daily several NCP’s and take care of the children. The farm functions also as the MobiDiK-Stützpunkt. There we keep the medical supplies, treatment room, office and an apartment for the nurse.
In addition to the "every day" treatment of the childred, MobiDiK also provides the children with regularly vaccination against tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, HIB, Hepatitis B, whooping cough and measles.
One of the current main tasks of MobiDiK is to test the children that live in the NCP's for HIV, due to the high rates of infection of pregnant women (approximately 50 %). The risk of infection for the children is very high and they have never been tested elsewhere. In co-operation with the local aid organization Nhlangano AIDS Training, Information and Counselling Centre NATICC a testing program was started. Only early initiation of therapy improves the prognosis for the infected children and reduces the risk of transmitting this horrible decease to others.
Unfortunately, with the one ambulance we can only reach a maximum of 40 of the total 100 NCP's. That is why it is an urgent goal to increase our fleet to 3 MobiDiK ambulances with 4 nurses and 4 assistants.