Gone are the days when the residents of Driftsands opposite Site C had to wake up in the early hours to beat the long queues at the local clinic on the only day of the week that it opened.
The City of Cape Town has now extended its services at the Driftsands satellite clinic to five days a week.
The mayoral committee member for area east, Anda Ntsodo, with residents and staff officially opened the clinic on Thursday September 7.
The extension was a response to the needs of the community who can now visit the clinic from 9am to noon.
The residents heaped praise on the new operating times, saying that for years they had been forced to go to other nearby clinics and at times they were not assisted because those clinics did not cater for people in other communities. They said people had to wake up very early in the morning to join the queue so that they could be assisted first and this had been a frustrating experience.
The residents said people put their lives in danger while trying to access what is an essential service.
Resident Noluthando Jikiliso said as much as she was excited about the clinic operating hours being extended, she wanted the government to build a permanent health structure.
Ms Jikiliso said it was dangerous for people to walk in the dark to the clinic, particularly for women.
“A community health care centre is one of the most important community sectors and we are glad that we have a functional clinic. Now we know that other services would be included in the clinic. This clinic is crucial in our community. Our dignity has been restored. But we need more community facilities,” she said.
Senior nurse at the clinic, Nicolette Isaacs, said it was unnecessary for people to walk long distances to go to other clinics when there was a facility in their neighbourhood.
Ms Isaacs said at the moment the clinic only sees children not adults and hopes in the near future that this would change.
She said all the communities deserve to have a health care facility and now she feels good that they would be able to see more children.
“Children are the most vulnerable and now they will be helped quickly. This clinic has been in existence for years and we hope this would be a permanent structure,” she said.
Mr Ntsodo said the main purpose is to ensure that local residents receive more regular health services, especially sick children who deteriorate quickly and can’t be made to wait until the next open day.
He said the additional open days mean that immunisations, HIV and TB testing, family planning, and blood pressure checks can also be spread out through the week.
“Clients will not have to wait in line as long to receive the services required. Healthcare workers will also conduct outreach programmes to welcome young people and men in the area as both groups are known to be difficult to attract to the City’s clinics,” he said.
Mr Ntsodo said health education, health promotion and healthy lifestyle practices will feature prominently on the Driftsands satellite clinic programme.
“I commend the health department for going the extra mile. The City of Cape Town is committed to enhancing our clients’ well-being and rendering an effective and efficient primary healthcare service to the community,” said Mr Ntsodo.