Clinic Update 2021

04 February 2021 | Shannen Harte

It is a new year and we find ourselves once again right in the eye of the storm, just as we were trying to get back to the new normal, we were hit with the resurgence of the new variant that appears more infectious than the earlier strain of the coronavirus.

We have once again had to adapt and prepare ourselves, moving closer to the entrance of the centre to prevent the spread of infection. Each day we prepare our PPE, which without we would not be able to do our work. Sister Xaba and her team have been screening all staff and patients entering the centre. Health education has been given on what the coronavirus is, the importance of washing hands, wearing of masks and the importance of social distancing. Those patients with minor complaints and those needing family planning, sexual and reproductive health, which has become difficult to access at other clinics, have been very fortunate to be able to come to 1000 Hills Community Helpers Clinic to get the treatment that they need. A consulting room has been set up, enabling these activities to take place. Those patients with more serious conditions are seen by Doctor Reece. 

We have found that many of the patients with co-morbidities have either been found to have defaulted in taking their treatment and developing complications like drug resistance because they are afraid to visit clinics and hospitals that are already overcrowded. Some patients have reported that they can wait a whole day and still not be attended too. As many hospitals are short-staffed and the staff that are available are seeing to covid patients with severe respiratory problems, some patients are given repeat dates to come back to the hospital but just do not have the funds to do so.

Patients with hypertension who have visited the clinic with extremely high blood pressure have been found to be extremely stressed due to the fear and anxiety of the pandemic including things like loss of income or having no food at home. We have assisted many asthmatics who have found themselves in respiratory distress, have been able to come to us to be nebulized. 

Patients who have had to attend hospital for review of their wounds or to have their sutures removed have been attended to by us. In many cases, it is more than just seeing a patient for a physical complaint but so much more. A holistic approach has to be adopted at all times as many are also afraid, anxious, depressed and feel hopeless. 

Many have lost their jobs, those who have been the breadwinners of their families are now struggling to find food. Crowded living conditions of sometimes 8 is a huge challenge, especially if you have someone who is not well. How does someone self - isolate or keep themselves safe when they do not even have basic resources such as soap and running water. Many fear being discriminated against if disclosing that they are not well. 

We continue to offer our mothers and grandmothers with children medical care and support that they need. Many are finding themselves in an even more desperate situation with the economy as it is. Those babies with mothers who are unable to breastfeed are now only receiving half of the formula that they need so as to try to make the formula last longer, directly due to lack of funds to purchase more. In some cases, babies are actually being fed solid foods as early as three months.