The new R166 million state-of-the-art community health centre in Dannhauser, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has brought much-needed health services to the area.
KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu and KZN Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo recently opened the 39-bed Dannhauser Community Health Centre.
The facility, which was celebrated with much fanfare by the community, will serve 103 389 people, 90 per cent of whom do not have medical aid. It will also serve as a referral facility for 10 of the municipality’s clinics, including the Thandanani, Nellies, Durnacol and Sukumani clinics.
Residents of Dannhauser no longer need to travel 30 km to Newcastle Provincial Hospital or 40 km to Madadeni Hospital to access healthcare.
Community member Philemon Mofokeng said he had to spend R90 to go to Newcastle Hospital but now he can go to the clinic and come back early for only R6.
“This facility, provided to us by our government, is going to help us a lot and we are very thankful for it,” he said.
The facility offers the same services as a district hospital, including consulting rooms, tuberculosis (TB) management, dentistry, X-rays, maternity care, a pharmacy, emergency medical service base, a mortuary and single-room residence for nurses.
“This impressive community healthcare centre is well deserved by the people who are now liberated and have the dignity which was not afforded to them before” said Premier Mchunu.
He added that the delivery of the centre complements the good work he had witnessed earlier that day when he visited the new expanded Voluntary Counselling and Testing Clinic at Newcastle Provincial Hospital.
Community health worker Sibongile Msimango said they are very happy to have this in the area: “Patients had to travel long distances to Madadeni hospital and many of our people came back without getting any help because the hospital is full,” she said.
This facility started operating from a small room near the Paediatric Outpatient Department and was run by one professional nurse and two HIV counsellors. With the increasing number of clients being tested and remaining in care, additional staff were assigned and space became a challenge.
The new facility now offers various services, including HIV counselling and testing (HCT), antiretroviral (ARV) initiation, TB and nutrition management and a pharmacy.
Speaking at the facility, the Premier said “women and children are really receiving quality healthcare, especially with the availability of a highly qualified and committed paediatrician who even goes out to assist all of the Amajuba Health District’s facilities.”
The Premier urged the residents of Amajuba District to make good use of the facilities provided for them and expressed disappointment about the low number of people who are going for screening and testing for HIV in the district.
HIV counselling and testing (HCT)
When you go for HCT you will:
• be counselled, and informed on the nature of HIV&AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STI), and TB
• be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent development of other non-infectious diseases
• be tested for HIV and screened for TB and other non-communicable diseases
• learn how to prevent HIV/AIDS and TB-related deaths
• help prevent new HIV and TB infections
• help break the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS and TB.