Better health-care needed in Wolverivier

Dr David Cameron, Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, Sunshine Educare founder Nikki Pretorius and Sub-council 3 PR councillor Christiana Groenewoud in Wolwerivier last week.

Wolwerivier is hoping to see better health-care services, after Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo admitted they were inadequate, during a visit to the camp last week.

Dr Mbombo was joined by Sub-council 3 proportional representation councillors Christiana Groenewoud and Lindela Tshwete, Ward 104 councillor Lubabalo Makeleni and Wolwerivier community leader, Magdalene Minnaar.

The Wolwerivier community has long had limited to no access to health and other basic services. Recently, a Swedish family donated a makeshift clinic to the area in memory of their son, Aksel Otterbeck, who died after being hit by a car in Table View in December 2016.

The Aksel Memorial Community Clinic is an NGO, which is privately funded and brings some relief to Wolwerivier residents. The City of Cape Town also has a mobile clinic once a week in Wolwerivier. But Ms Minaar said many people had health-care needs that existing facilities just couldn’t help with.

“Children from as young as 2-years-old have TB and often there are long lines people have to wait in so they can get some medical assistance. Other facilities are too far away for people to get to, and they often have to spend R44 for a return trip from clinics in Dunoon or Atlantis,” she said.

Dr Mbombo conceded Wolwerivier’s facilities were not up to scratch.

“My goal with this visit was to take stock of the situation and to assess how to proceed to ensure that the most essential health services are delivered to this community.

“I will start engaging with the City of Cape Town to find the best possible way of bringing health services to the most vulnerable in the community,” she said.

Nikki Pretorius runs the Sunshine Educare, a school at the Aksel Memorial Community Clinic. She said Wolweriver not only needed medical facilities but also reliable transport for those needing to visit medical centres outside the area.

“At Aksel, there are limited resources and services for the community, so often, people have to go to other areas to get specialised medical attention. That is where the need for transport comes in because people often have to wait for hours for public transport as this place is so isolated. After spending that time, they get in an overcrowded taxi and also have to face long waiting lines at these clinics,” she said.

Ms Pretorius suggested that government could help by supplying a shuttle service twice or three times a week for people’s medical appointments.

“We are very happy the MEC took time out of her schedule to come
to pay us a visit, and I was impressed with how much insight she had
with regards to the community.
We are, however, cautiously hopeful that positive things will get done because we have had politicians visit the area and had very little results,” she said.