North Star Alliance

Roadside Wellness Centre’s (RWC’s) are converted shipping containers that have been refurbished as fit for purpose health clinics. Based on a mapping exercise and site assessments in consultation with government and other partners, these clinics are placed at hotspots such as border posts or transit towns where large numbers of truckers stop and where informal trade and sex worker activity flourishes.  These clinics are open after hours to allow these communities to access services. The services offered include HIV Counseling and Testing, STI diagnosis and treatments, Primary Health Care, Behaviour Change Communication, Condom Distribution and screening for TB and Malaria. The services are offered free of charge. 

An important aspect of the RWC model is the use of a proprietary software program called COMETS (Corridor Medical Transfer System) which is a patient medical information repository, inventory management tool and data collection tool for client demographics, diagnoses, treatments, condom distribution and BCC activities across the RWC network.  Information is synchronized daily and is available across the RWC network, ensuring continuum of care for clients. COMETS allows for the analysis, M + E and reporting of data on demographics, health conditions, mobility and disease trends across the region as well as project / donor specific information dashboards accessible via the Internet.

Many mobile or migrant workers do not have access to adequate health care and are regarded as one of the most-at-risk categories in terms of HIV and Aids, STI’s, etc. This is where North Star comes in by taking the health care to where it is needed. What we do is not intended to replace or compete with existing services but aims to improve the coherence and effectiveness of the regional response to HIV and Aids and other communicable and opportunistic diseases in reducing the number of infections by making services available at the source and which meaningfully contribute to mitigating the impact of HIV and Aids on mobile populations and affected communities across SADC (Southern African Development Community) member states.

North Star works at the crossroads of disease and mobility to ensure that mobile and hard to reach populations have access to health services. Our primary goal is to improve the quality and sustainability of healthcare services and HIV management along major transportation corridors in southern Africa and which has a significant impact on improving the quality of life for many affected communities and the socioeconomic development of their respective countries. North Star is strengthening national health systems by expanding their reach and plugging the gaps through a network of RWC’s located at hotspots along the most important transport corridors in southern Africa aimed at uniting the transport and public health sectors in a common response to high impact diseases.

  • North Star currently operates 20 clinics in seven countries across the southern African region.
  • 63 944 individuals accessed health care during 2013
  • To date, 52 843 individuals have accessed health care during 2014
  • ARV / ART pilot project being rolled out along the North South Corridor

Key Facts

Organization: North Star Alliance
Name of the project: Providing Access to Health Care for Hard to Reach Populations
Operating in: Kenya, Netherlands, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa

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