Nang, 43 is the proud mother of 8 children, and cares for all of her children deeply. But it was not until recently that she could get them vaccinated. Many of her older children didn’t have chance to get vaccinated because they were too old to receive them by the time the family could access this important health service.
Nang has lived in Pha Oudom District of Bokeo Province for her entire life. Like many people in her community, she works as a highland rice cultivation farmer. Although situated in breathtaking mountains, her community is unfortunately far from quality health care.
Healthcare challenges in rural communities
It takes about 2 hours to drive to the closest health centre and about 5 hours to reach the district hospital. Making the trek along the treacherous, steep dirt roads has deterred many people in Nang’s community from seeking health care at the clinic or hospital because it’s time consuming and dangerous. To make matters worse, it’s also very difficult to find transportation. Sometimes, those who are ill must walk that distance, which can take at least 3 hours so most sick people have relied on traditional herbs and medicines from a local shaman for treatment.
To help solve this issue, a Mobile Clinic now operates in the indigenous isolated communities in Pha Oudom. With local support from the staff at the District Health Office and Konsod Health Centre, in conjunction with the financial and technical support from Plan International, the Mobile Clinic makes rounds to the villages in Pha Oudom every 3 months.
The Mobile Clinic provides a variety of health services such as vaccinations for children under 5 years old, antenatal and postnatal care for mothers, child growth monitoring, and family planning. Helping patients in the communities receive the treatment they need as well as spreading awareness about good health practices and encouraging villagers to visit health centre are top priorities for the Mobile Clinic, which is trying to foster a culture of quality health care.
Reaching people in these communities through the Mobile Clinic provides them with essential health services and knowledge. “We have noticed that the number of children who would get sick from diseases like measles has been reduced since the Mobile Clinic team started visiting our community. Last year, there were no cases of this diseases,” said Thongkham, a 52 year-old village chief of Phonvilay Village in Pha Oudom.
Three of Nang’s children have now received vaccinations from the Mobile Clinic team. "Today, my youngest child received a vaccination and I was given advice about how to take care of my child when she has a fever. [Now I know] that I can consult with a trained village volunteer or call the health staff at the health centre," says Nang. “I am so happy to get health services from the Mobile Clinic team and expect them to visit us more often. I can already see that my children who have been seen by the Mobile Clinic are healthier compared to those who haven’t.”