Freedom Park residents receive free health checks

Nursing sister Yvette Erasmus, from Mzansi Ethical Research Centre, right, fills in a medical information sheet for Ursula Williams, 53, from Freedom Park.

Dozens of residents were treated to free health checks outside Freedom Park voting station in a bid to give poor people access to treatment.

Mzansi Ethical Research Centre (MERC) staff tested the blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol of 263 people at Freedom Park hall on Wednesday August 3.

Close to 46 percent of the people tested needed medical help, which included referral to clinics, further testing, monitoring and advice on treatment.

Dr Mohammed Siddique Tayob, MERC chief executive officer (CEO), said the crowd was overwhelming and that they had been surprised at the “thirst” for such a service.

They tested 54 men and 211 women, aged between 40 and 80.

MERC was established in 2000 to conduct clinical research in under-resourced areas. They had other community outreach programmes in Philippi, Vangate Mall and Kuils River at the weekend.

Dr Tayob told the Plainsman they visited densely populated areas which were underserviced, where residents hardly had access to health services.

MERC, originally based in Middleburg, now has offices in Pretoria and Rylands Estate.

“As a service to the community, we conduct many outreaches in various areas,” he said.

Dr Tayob said it was important for people to know their health status so they could get the best treatment.

MERC will be visiting different areas in Mitchell’s Plain, on alternate Saturdays and will conduct screenings at the mall next to Melomed Hospital in Gatesville.