A new state-of-the-art community clinic will be the first of its kind offering primary healthcare services to the poor in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. Rhiza Babuyile (RB), a community development organisation today opened its first brick and mortar clinic, the Rhiza Babuyile Clinic Diepsloot, after over a decade of serving communities with mobile clinics.
The non-profit organisation (NPO) is working to ease the public health burden by offering an accessible, affordable alternative. Prior to the establishment of the new clinic there were only two public healthcare clinic facilities catering for a growing community of 300 000 people in Diepsloot.
The R5 million facility boasts the latest in primary healthcare technology including a 3D sonar machine and telemedicine services allowing patients to now be able to consult a doctor every day of the week, whereas public facilities typically only provide access to a General Practitioner (GP) on certain days of the week.
Thousands of people around the country battle long queues and limited resources at community health centres daily. Unlike many of these struggling and often understaffed public clinics, Rhiza Babuyile’s Diepsloot clinic will now allow short waiting times and provide easy access to qualified nurses and doctors. The clinic is equipped with advanced technology for prenatal care, GP consultations through telemedicine (video-call consultations) and a fully stocked dispensary service. The clinic has also completed the construction of an emergency room which it is plans to have operational by next year.
The establishment of the clinic was made possible by generous donations from a number of Rhiza Babuyile’s partners. Major sponsors include global pharmaceutical company Viatris, the primary donor for the building of the clinic; and the Philips Foundation, who provided the diagnostic and healthcare technology.
Previously, Rhiza Babuyile’s mobile healthcare clinics enabled the organisation to reach approximately 1400 people per week, with the new brick-and-mortar facility, the clinic will now be able to reach more than 2000 patients per week. “The resources and funds that have gone into this project are an investment into the lives of the Diepsloot community which has long deserved access to quality and affordable primary healthcare,” says Rhiza Babuyile’s Chief Operations Officer, Rodney Makube.
Through a partnership with the Gauteng Department of Health (DOH), the clinic will be assisting the government with its child immunisation program, family planning services for young women and the ongoing Covid-19 vaccine roll-out. Rhiza Babuyile has been involved in assisting the government through its various community health programs and this will be a continuation of that, which will also include the provision of medicines for acute and chronic illnesses to stock the clinic’s dispensary.
Providing services in Gauteng, the Western Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Free State, Rhiza Babuyile has always advocated for public-private-partnerships that help community development efforts work more efficiently. This partnership is one of the ways the government is initiating working relationships with community organisations in impoverished areas to increase access to primary healthcare.
The NPO prides itself in creating patient experiences which offer more satisfaction and value for money. Its health programs are intended to service the specific needs of the communities they exist in, and as such the NPO has built a strong relationship with its communities as well as the state bodies it works with in those areas. A recent survey conducted by one of the clinic’s major sponsors the Philips Foundation found that Rhiza Babuyile’s primary healthcare services have elicited high levels of patient satisfaction. “Respect and compassion can go a long way in making a difference for a patient who is already vulnerable and in need of care,” says Makube.
“The clinic will provide patients with quality service and patients will be treated with the dignity they deserve. One of the benefits of the clinic’s service is that it costs a fraction of the cost of seeing a private doctor, with a consultation ranging between R100 and R200,” Makube continues. Patients will be charged a minimal fee in order to ensure the sustainability of the clinic in the long-term, he explains
According to the recent General Household Survey Report by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), 82 out of every 100 South Africans are largely dependent on public healthcare. With a large population of impoverished residents, Diepsloot’s public health facilities need to operate in conjunction with alternatives in order to ease the burden of a growing patient population.
Rhiza Babuyile welcomes the City of Johannesburg’s (COJ’s) announcement that R21.5 million has been allocated for the full implementation of the eHealth system in the city while R1.8 billion has been set aside as operational costs for health and social development to fight drug abuse, among other things. The organisation hopes that the latter will include working with NPOs which aim to improve the healthcare outcomes of the province’s poorest.