John Douglas Wylde

UK | August 2014

My 6 weeks have been immensely enjoyable and something that I cherish for years to come. Arriving fresh faced and not knowing what to expect, I was warmly welcomed by everyone at the clinic. I quickly found myself helping out with every aspect of the clinic; some of which I had not initially thought of. This was typified by spending a few days up on the roof doing cladding for the water pipes. After a few failed attempts, the water pipes have now stopped freezing!

The theme of water also arose in helping the San with their water crisis. They had their water shut off since May due to not paying the bill; due to the water tap being controlled by one individual. Therefore I helped Dr Ian organize a Water committee and a basic business model to collect payment. Though we made a few mistakes in the calculations of the unit cost, this was down to the water board charging around 20x their actual water consumption a week…

On the medical sides of things tuberculosis is the main non-routine diagnosis arriving at the clinic. It is poignant and a travesty to think that TB kills approximately 50% of San adults. This is because treatment is free and effective. The reason for this is in part due to the difficulty of detecting the pathogen and the problem of supplying the drugs to the nomadic like San. As a result I helped Dr Ian set up a TB project. This project involved designing a questionnaire and then a protocol for confirming the diagnosis. Though in its early stages, this promises to produce a huge impact in the San community; a community that I consider to have the highest TB incidence in the world.

I can only conclude that I would love to thank everyone at the clinic. Without these incredibly selfless individuals, I would dread to think of what would happen in the community.

For future volunteers I advise that you show display your own initiative at the clinic. There are many opportunities to help individuals and they are not just medically orientated. That is not to say that I have not learnt valuable clinical skills, however that is not the entire focus.

Back to testimonials

Stay Informed

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news.