Funding not enough, says MSAT

The Mitchell’s Plain Multi-Sectoral Action Team (MSAT) will decide later this month, whether they will accept provincial Department of Health funding of R13 667.61, because they do not feel the amount is enough to cover the costs involved in the work they do.

MSAT is a collective of organisations that work together to combat HIV/Aids and tuberculosis (TB) in eight sub-districts across Cape Town, namely Eastern, Southern, Western, Northern, Khayelitsha, Klipfontein, Mitchell’s Plain and Tygerberg. The Mitchell’s Plain MSAT met for a general meeting at Eastridge clinic resource centre on Thursday September 29.

Chairwoman Roslyn Swartz said they voluntarily raise awareness, do testing, feed people at clinics and provide the health department with statistics, but if the government does not support them, they will not have any NGOs working for them in the area.

She said MSAT was an umbrella body of 52 organisations in Mitchell’s Plain and that only seven organisations had been funded during the last financial year, which ran from July 1 last year to June 30 this year. “My organisation alone, hosted a one-day event and it cost R500 to R700 to cover the costs of food and transport. You cannot get people at an event if there isn’t an offering of food,” she said.

“We want them (the government) to come ducking and diving into Mitchell’s Plain. I’ve spent 80 percent of my life in the community and even when we get a stipend, we still need to find something to eat, to put on the table for our volunteers,” she said.

They are due to meet with Lukholo Ngamlana, a community liaison officer for the Klipfontein and Mitchell’s Plain health sub-district, on Wednesday October 12.

At the meeting last week, Mr Ngamlana said funding had been made available for sub-district community liaison officers (CLO) and that the MSAT co-ordinator was an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) worker, employed by the City of Cape Town for a year. He said the department had sourced funds via the international Global Fund towards improving the operations of organisations focusing on HIV/Aids.

The Global Fund invests in various programmes, projects and awards grants to various organisation of which funding was received by the provincial department of health for MSAT to fund the CLOs salary and operational cost, such as travel, printing and catering expenses.

The CLO will support the New Grant’s Hot Spots mapping process as well as support the Western Cape Government Health Klipfontein and Mitchell’s Plain subdistrict office with community engagement activities (pertaining to health-related matters) and to advocate for community inter-sectoral action.

Mr Ngamlana said the R13 667.61 needed to be evenly split over four quarters of the year and that representatives should sit down to decide how the money could be spent wisely.