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Health services will continue in spite of funding issues

Health and welfare services at the Overstrand Care Centre in Hawston will continue with or without financial support from the Western Cape Department of Health.

This was the message conveyed to MEC for Health Dr Nomafrench Mbombo during her visit to the facility last week.

The Department of Health withdrew funding for the facility last year after a management dispute, which resulted in nursing staff vacating their posts and patients being placed at health care facilities across the Overberg.

Rev Franklin Davids, chairperson of the Hawston Health and Welfare Committee, said the body was informed that this decision would be reviewed once the management problems had been resolved. This reportedly has never happened.

Overstrand Deputy Mayor Elnora Gillion explained that funding is needed for the provision of a step-down facility.

Step-down facilities provide professional medical and therapeutic care for patients who have been discharged from hospital, but still need assistance and medical care or those in need of palliative care.

“This facility has a good track record of delivering quality service,” Gillion pointed out. “There is no other such facility in the region that our communities can afford. We have the facility, and we have people in the community who are trained in providing these services, but there is a lack of funding.”

Davids informed the MEC that Hawston Health and Welfare still continued to provide certain services to the community, with the help of funding from the Raymondo Trust and an amount of R60 000 received from the Overberg Community Trust.

“This is for the substance abuse programme we run, and just to help to keep the doors open,” he explained.

The MEC did not make any promises in terms of funding, but was committed to finding solutions.

“I want to suggest that the Director (Wilma Kamfer, Director of Health Services in the Overberg) find a solution without compromising other programmes,” she added.

Mbombo said the issue should also be followed up with Albert Fritz, the MEC for Social Development.

“We also need to explore in terms of fundraising beyond government,” she stated.

Ronell Salies, secretary of the Hawston Health and Welfare Committee, said the group’s vision is to register all home-based carers from the area who are currently unemployed with the Community Work Programme (CWP). The registration will take place on Friday 12 April from 10:00 to 12:30 at Thusong Centre.

“They will receive a stipend to work at the centre, so it can continue to operate,” Salies said. “We will operate a day-care medical facility, where patients will be cared for during the day. We’ll do this until we get funding to resume palliative care.”

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