Retirement has not dimmed the passion three nurses have for helping the ill.
Three seasoned nurses from Mamelodi East in Pretoria have joined forces to open a private clinic that provides healthcare services to locals after hours.
Mabu Sekhaolelo, Veronica Mogashoa and Paulinah Mafatshe are the co-founders of Wellness Today, which opened its doors in January. The clinic operates from 4pm to 7pm from Monday to Friday.
“We realised that working people are negatively affected by the 4pm closing time of local clinics,” Sekhaolelo explained.
Wellness Today is not in competition with government clinics; instead, it strives to complement them by reducing the burden of patients who flock to public clinics and end up in long queues, which sometimes results in them not being assisted before the clinics close at 4pm, she said.
Sekhaolelo said the clinic provides the same services that people get at a government clinic, including immunisation, HIV testing, family planning and other tests and screening, for which the patients are charged between R30 and R100, depending on the test needed.
Mafatshe said they held several meetings to brainstorm how to get the clinic off the ground. It was not an easy process but nothing could stop them.
Explaining what it took to establish the clinic, Mogashoa said they first had to get a practice number from the Board of Healthcare Funders of South Africa, which issues practice numbers to all registered private healthcare providers.
Afterwards, they applied for an operating licence from the National Department of Health.
“Among the challenges we had, and still have, are land to build a medical centre and finances to buy more equipment and medication for our patients,” she said.
In the interim, the clinic operates from Mafatshe’s house.
Mogashoa said the clinic has been well received. “Most of our patients heard about us through word-of-mouth and the media,” she said.
“We apply the same nursing discipline and legal standards as those used by government clinics,” she added. “We are experienced nurses who have worked in the public healthcare environment for a long time and are passionate about our patients’ health.”
They said the most important advice they give to their patients is to ensure they understand their conditions and adhere to their medication regime.