by Charity Dakamela

City of Cape Town offers HIV support

Healthy cities focus: health care

Healthier Cities improve the lives of their citizens
cape town mediaclubsouthafrica.jpg

A person’s place of residence or habitat affects their health through the lifestyle it offers. For this reason, most cities have adopted the creation of healthy cities as part of their strategy and this strategy informs their policy.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines a healthy city as “one that is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources which enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and in developing to their maximum potential”.

In its endeavour to create a healthy city, the City of Cape Town delivers, in partnership with the Western Cape provincial government, the personal primary healthcare component (clinic services) via an infrastructure of 82 clinics, five Community Health Centres (CHCs), 22 satellite clinics and four mobile clinics.

Services include women and child health services; HIV/Aids, Sexually Transmitted Illnesses (STI) and Tuberculosis (TB) control and substance abuse.

The process of creating healthier cities is a practical example of the effectiveness of partnerships between local governments involving different departments, residents, NGOs, private sectors, community organisations and academics.

As a key partner of the Anti-Retroviral (ARV) club initiative, the City of Cape Town was awarded the Impumelelo Award. The ARV club seeks to drastically cut down the time that patients spend at health clinics.

In keeping with our commitment to building a caring and inclusive city, we have been closely involved with this project since its inception in 2010. We realise the burden placed on patients who are regularly required to wait for long periods at our health facilities. As such, we welcome all initiatives which reduce the waiting time for patients – particularly those with chronic illnesses, and will support them as best we can,” said the city’s mayoral committee member for health, councillor Lungiswa James.

Patients who are eligible for the ARV club and wish to be enrolled are divided into groups (or clubs) of approximately 30 people. These patients go directly to a ‘club room’ on their given date and time without the need to queue for a folder. In this room they meet the same group members at each visit, allowing for a group identity to develop.

Here, topical issues for patients who are stable on ARVs can be discussed. Patients have their weight checked as well as a ‘symptom screen’. If they are well, they are given a package of pre-packed medication and can go home.

Currently, nearly 10 000 patients in the metro (about 10% of the patients on ARVs) are part of over 400 ARV clubs. This is just the start. We expect to see a significant increase in these numbers over the next year.” said James.


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