What started as a feeding scheme to ensure the nutrition of people in townships, now runs as a life-changing clinic for people in need.


Fourways, Johannesburg – In 1947, three nurses came together to set up a feeding scheme. They did this to combat the lack of health and welfare facilities in the area. In the early 2000s, it was one of the first clinics in South Africa to offer antiretroviral treatment.

Today the clinic thrives and helps support many living in informal settlements within the Fourways area. The non-profit organisation, now known as the Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre aims to do their part to change how those living in townships access healthcare.

According to the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), residents of informal settlements are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Latent Tuberculosis, or TB, affects 88% of 30 to 39-year-old individuals living in these areas. Quality and efficient healthcare is a luxury that most South Africans living in townships cannot afford.

“Our Centre aims to provide quality healthcare services to those living in the Kya Sands, Diepsloot and surrounding areas,” says Executive Director of the Centre, Jean Bassett. “People living in these areas should have equal access to affordable healthcare. At Witkoppen, we strive to provide our patients with comprehensive service regardless of nationality, race or gender.”

The privately run, donor-funded, organisation assists more than 8 500 patients per month. The Centre provides a range of services, including HIV and TB testing, antenatal care, a mental health clinic, dentist, as well as the opportunity to consult qualified doctors, nurses, psychologists and pharmacists.

A patient’s first visit is free. Following that, they need only to pay R70 per appointment. Many patients are willing to pay the nominal fee to ensure that they get access to the healthcare they need.

“We make sure that all our patients are cared for by our staff. Our counsellors are well trained and treat each patient with the dignity they deserve,” says Bassett. “When patients experience efficient and friendly service, they are more likely to return to our facility because they feel cared for.”

Their male-friendly clinic, Mvuselelo, was opened in 2018 after a study done by the Centre showed that men wanted to be treated by an all-male staff. The clinic was designed for men by men and encourages males in the area to speak up about health issues about their gender.

The clinic makes a massive impact on the lives of those who visit it.

For more information on the services they provide, visit Interesting facts and service updates can be found on Facebook (@WitkoppenHealthandWelfareCentre) and Twitter (@Witkoppen105).

Sources: Supplied
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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