Community clinics face pressure under Level 3

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With South Africa moving into lockdown Level 3 this month, Covid-19 infections are expected to increase as people return to work and move around more freely. Community clinics are under greater pressure to deal with both the virus and delivering essential health services. Chronic patients are being urged to stay up to date with their treatment and monitor their health for any signs of Covid-19, to help alleviate the pressure on an already overburdened system.

“The Covid-19 virus has had a disproportionate impact on people with chronic health conditions such as TB, HIV and diabetes. These patients are at a heightened risk of experiencing both the direct health impacts of Covid-19 and its effects on other essential health services, as clinics and hospitals spend increasingly more resources on combating the virus,” says Jean Bassett, Director at Fourways-based Witkoppen Clinic.

The non-profit organisation, which services close to 10 000 patients every month, has been a screening and testing site for Covid-19. The clinic has also played a major role in mobilising community screening teams in many communities around Fourways, including Diepsloot, Ivory Park and Rabie Ridge.

Since the outbreak of the virus, the clinic has implemented a number of measures to ensure that chronic patients have continued access to treatment and are not placed in an environment where they could contract the virus. “We send out SMS reminders when patients need to come and collect their next round of medication. Those collecting medication are also fast-tracked to the front of the queue to limit their exposure – we’re prepared to do whatever we can to help these patients,” says Bassett.

“It is vitally important that you continue to take your medication and monitor your health. If the symptoms of your chronic condition deteriorate, or if you notice any symptoms of Covid-19, access healthcare services immediately. This is not the time to wait it out. By looking after yourself, you are helping in the fight against Covid-19,” says Bassett.

Those collecting medicine in person are encouraged to adhere to social distancing precautions and hygiene practices, including wearing a face mask. “Ideally, rather arrange for your medication to be delivered, or send someone living with you to fetch your medicine if you are not feeling well, where possible,” says Bassett.

Based at 105 William Nicol Drive, Fourways, Johannesburg, Witkoppen Clinic is open from 7.30am to 4pm every weekday. The Clinic offers a range of healthcare services, including HIV and TB testing, a mental health clinic, dentist, and mobile health clinics. For more information, visit their website at www.witkoppen.org.

ENDS

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Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:

Ciaran Maidwell

ciaran@be-cause.co.za

021 447 1082 / 072 693 9401

On behalf of Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre:

Director: Dr Jean Bassett