Township clinic receives much-needed improvement

Maternal and pediatric healthcare in Mabopane, Pretoria received a boost this week as the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) unveiled a new facility at Sedilega Clinic.

The additional space was welcomed by staff at the clinic, which started operating from a house and delivers healthcare services to about 4 000 patients every month.

The intervention formed part of the DSI's Nelson Mandela Day outreach work, which aims to help improve the lives of struggling communities. Dr Phil Mjwara, the Department's Director-General, presided over the unveiling ceremony.

Since 2009, following a unanimous decision by the United Nations General Assembly, Mandela's birthday, 18 July, has been recognised as an international event, with people the world over encouraged to spend the day making the world a better place. The campaign calls on people to keep Mandela's legacy alive by devoting 67 minutes of their time to helping others, in commemoration of the 67 years Mandela devoted to the service of humanity.

The Department donated repurposed shipping containers to Sedilega Clinic. One of the containers was fitted with filing cabinets that will enable the clinic to solve its longstanding record-keeping challenges. The other containers were renovated to serve as three consultation rooms for treating pregnant mothers and providing postnatal care.

The new facility has also been fitted with toilets, potable water, and air-conditioning. Up until now the clinic staff, and the growing number of patients they serve, had been forced to use one toilet. The DSI's contributions will help to relieve congestion, raise staff morale, and most importantly, improve patient care.

Sedilega Clinic serves a number of areas in Mabopane, providing antenatal care from the first trimester to full term, treatment of minor ailments and primary health care, and chronic treatment of HIV, hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy and TB. It also treats childhood illnesses and offers immunisation for children, cervical screening, and medical male circumcision.

An overwhelmed clinic manager, Sister Matlhogonolo Ndzukulu, related how last year's Mandela Day initiative � which saw the Department's former Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, rolling up her sleeves to help paint the clinic � led to the donation of the new facilities.

Sister Ndzukulu said that, since 2009, when she began working there, the cramped conditions had become increasingly difficult, particularly when trying to cope with a growing burden of disease with limited resources.

"Two professional nurses would have to see five patients at a time in one room, which is not supposed to be the case," she said. The situation worsened when they started offering HIV treatment, which saw numbers skyrocketing from around 950 to 4 000 patients per month.

"I am very happy and excited at today's unveiling," she said.

Dr Mjwara said the DSI welcomed the partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Department of Health, and looked forward to assisting with other improvements to the clinic. The Director-General said the Department would look into the possibility of donating computers to automate the clinic's filing system.

Source: Department: Science and Technology