Health services at your doorstep

Members of the Mitchells Plain hospital staff and Arisen Women at the awareness session.

The provincial Department of Health has embarked on a new pilot project in Eastridge, taking health-care services right to people’s homes.

The Community-Orientated Primary Care (COPC) project aims to change the focus of health services, from only reacting when people become ill enough to present themselves for care, to pro-actively looking at a whole community and addressing the most important challenges together with community members.

Arisen Women, a Mitchell’s Plain-based NGO, Mitchell’s Plain hospital staff held an awareness session about the COPC near the Mitchell’s Plain police station at the Town Centre, in Eastridge, on Wednesday November 22.

The project includes the Mitchell’s Plain hospital medical team, community healthcare workers from Arisen Women and other role players.

Monique Johnstone, health department spokeswoman, said this approach means promoting health and more preventative interventions at household and community level in Eastridge, as well as at the Mitchells Plain hospital.

Step 1 includes the community healthcare workers physically counting the number of households in the area to ensure that the department understands the size and population of the area they are serving.

In Step 2, the community health-care workers return to the homes to assess the health status of each family member living there.

Step 3 will identify urgent healthcare needs, through consultation with the COPC health-care team.

The community healthcare workers will also be able to help residents identify healthcare needs requiring urgent attention.

The last step is planning and intervening, which includes using all of the information. The COPC health-care team will develop and implement plans to support local healthcare.

Ms Johnstone said people would still need to attend the hospital or call the ambulance in an emergency. “People are not encouraged to stay at home and wait for the community health-care worker to attend to their health-care needs as the role of COPC is to promote health and act as a preventative health-care model in the community,” she said.

Solomon Philander, councillor for ward 79, said he would like to commend the Mitchell’s Plain hospital for making sure the people of Eastridge benefited from the project.

“In Mitchell’s Plain we have one community health centre servicing the greater Mitchell’s Plain, which ultimately puts much pressure on the facility. The facility through its NGO partners were able to implement community collection areas where chronic medication is collected, easing the demand at the facility.

“In addition to this, the facility management has reduced waiting time for people who are on the chronic collection data, making life easier. While assisting the team with the handing out of pamphlets, people welcomed the project.

“The community was able to identify the ladies from Arisen Women which is a brand name in the community, assisting community members who need home-based care,” he said.

Mr Philander said he was positive about the project and that more people would get the opportunity to access health care and support.

“We appeal to the community to welcome the women into your home and work with them to help you. The safety of the workers is our priority. I appeal to the community of Eastridge to protect the workers as this will benefit everyone to access primary health. This project ensures that people add to the quality of life and are given a chance to live beyond the diagnosis of illness,” he said.

Janice Jacobs, nurse co-ordinator for Arisen Women, said there are 30 carers and three co-ordinators for the project. Each carer will be given 200 plots in Mitchell’s Plain.

“We have a dedicated team of carers who are doing visits and are noting the various illnesses in the households. There is a desperate need for health care,” she said.

Samuel Cummings, from Tafelsig, said it is a great initiative as there were many people who were bed-ridden and could not get to the day hospital.

“There are people who cannot get to the clinic or hospital and become more ill. Now they have the opportunity to have access to health care,” he said.