Support those on the front lines of Covid-19

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    Lolo Njisane, an administration officer with the clinic, demonstrates the measures staff have put in place to enforce social distancing among patients waiting for treatment. "We've stuck tape on places where people can sit, so that they keep a safe distance from each other." Photo: Robyn Kirk

    FOURWAYS GARDENS – As the country takes lockdown one day at a time, Witkoppen Clinic needs support from the public to care for their patients.

    Can you help health workers on the front line as well as community members most impacted by the lockdown?

    Witkoppen Clinic is carrying on its care for the community as the lockdown continues and the number of coronavirus cases rise. Not only are health facility staff members continuing to identify and treat chronic conditions such as HIV and TB and screen patients for Covid-19 symptoms when they visit the centre, they have also begun to distribute food and protective gear to patients so that they can survive these unprecedented times.

    “I expected things to be worse than it has been [during lockdown],” said Dr Emma Sim, who is the Covid-19 leader at the clinic. “But what I do see is that people are really concerned and really scared.

    “We’ve been watching the numbers rise, and are particularly concerned with the number of healthcare practitioners who have become sick. “Therefore we decided to send our high risk staff home to self isolate. The virus does seem to impact those aged over 65 as well as those with cardiac and pulmonary issues. We’ve also started laundry services for staff so that they can be sure their work clothes are cleaned in warm water and tumble dried.”

    Business at the clinic has continued, with extra measures in place to keep everyone at the clinic safe. Only 100 patients are allowed into the clinic at a time, with a new patient only entering the premises when someone leaves. Screening for Covid-19 risk factors is done at the entrances, and anyone who shows potential symptoms is housed in a separate building for testing and treatment, although no one has tested positive so far.

    Mobile services which were offered in the Ivory Park and Diepsloot communities have had to be halted for staff safety reasons. But accessibility to healthcare is not Sim’s only concern for the community she serves.

    “We’ve set up a Backabuddy campaign to raise funds, but when it comes to our patients they are dealing with extreme food insecurity. As such, we’re currently handing out food donations.”

    But the non-profit organisation cannot continue its work alone. Sim urges members of the community to help support the clinic in the following ways:

    • Donate to the Backabuddy campaign which you can find at www.backabuddy.co.za/help-save-our-clinicians-from-covid-19
    • Donate donations of food, particularly non-perishables such as peanut butter, long-life milk and other necessary items such as soap and bleach
    • The clinic is need of personal protective gear such as gloves, aprons and masks (both N95 masks for staff, and material masks that they can give to patients who need to travel on public transport when they leave the clinic).

    “Please remember to follow lockdown procedures, be safe and wash your hands,” Sim concluded.

    Details: www.witkoppen.org

    By: Robyn Kirk

    Source: Fourways Review(https://fourwaysreview.co.za/343350/support-those-on-the-front-lines-of-covid-19/)