Northern Cape Flying Doctors – Photographs by Andreas Vlachakis
This set of photographs was taken in April 2001.
The Northern Cape province is the largest in South Africa. It is also the most sparsely populated and one of the poorest provinces in the country. Only the bigger towns have basic health care facilities, and patients from outlying regions must travel great distances to reach them. Sometimes this is not feasible, due to transportational or financial restraints. The Northern Cape Health Department implemented a program to attempt to address this problem of lack of access to basic health care.
Using young interns and community service doctors based in Kimberly, the capital of the province, the department initiated a flying clinic scheme. A small 12 seater single prop air plane was hired from the Red Cross, and staffed with interns and specialists would set out on a fortnightly basis for the outlying areas. Services would range from gynaecology to optometry to dentistry, and would cover the length and breadth of the province from Augrabies in the north to Calvinia in the south.
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