According to HSFSA Chief Executive, Pamela Naidoo non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, strokes and other circulatory conditions were common in South Africa. In an effort to educate, inform and lessen the strain on the overburdened health-care system,the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) has provided a mobile clinic for Khayelitsha residents.
The clinic, which was unveiled at the Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids (Gapa) centre and is set to start with older people suffering from non-communicable illnesses and is the first in an intended series of the HSFSA’s mobile clinics to be launched in South Africa.
“We know these conditions are also some of the most serious comorbidities for Covid-19, therefore our work is particularly essential at this time. We expect the pandemic to be with us for quite a while and therefore it is vital that we equip vulnerable community members to take better care of themselves,” said Naidoo.
Heidelberg hospital chief Executive, Sharon Leo said heart disease and strokes had a major impact on communities and hospitals. She said hospitals, on a daily basis, had the highest rates of patients treated for non-communicable diseases.
“This is a step in the right direction, not only focusing on illness, but wellness as well, and hopefully will lead to better outcomes. About 215 people die every day in South Africa from heart disease, and every hour five people have heart attacks, and some of them could have been avoided.
“Poverty and lack of income all contribute to how people engage their own health, which oftentimes might not be a priority for them. For us to achieve wealth and health in our communities we need to be healthy,” she said.
UCT Medical School Head, Ntobeko Ntusi said the impact of health promotion in terms of empowering people to make decisions about how they lived their lives had a far more powerful impact on outcomes of cardiovascular disease than the tablets that one got at a clinic.
“This intervention will lead not only to improved cardiovascular health in management of non-communicable disease in communities like Khayelitsha and many others, but will in the long term result in the improved health-care of society,” he said.
Gapa health-care worker Siphokazi Sompeta said the mobile clinic would reach out to more elderly people who had been previously referred to clinics. She said they would also conduct numerous wellness days.