Before the new Mange Health Post was established, the challenges for local residents were significant, and often life threatening. Until very recently, residents had to travel approximately 50 km (31 mi.) to a neighbouring village, Bethesda, to receive primary healthcare. The existing compromised public transport and road conditions meant that people suffering from chronic illness and other debilitating illnesses like diarrhea and fever, often did not have the strength to seek medical attention, and sometimes died unnecessarily from highly treatable conditions.
A mobile clinic, staffed by a nurse, visited KwaNgwenya on a fortnightly basis, stopping at 4 sites for 2 hours each. It carried minimal equipment and medical supplies. Community members reported that their clinical data could not be collected, and there was no privacy – often patients were required to undress in front of a queue of waiting people. Due to the limited time that the clinic spent at each site, community members in desperate need to be seen by the nurse would start to queue as early at 04:00 a.m.
This combination of challenges faced by the members of KwaNgwenya meant that they had severely limited access to even basic medical care, and the knock-on effects of this could be seen in deaths from sudden illness or injury, pregnancy complications, and poor follow-up attendance rates and management for those patients being treated for chronic conditions such as HIV AIDS and TB.