Bellville’s new clinic

Ward councillor Jackie Visser, sister Mandisa Swarts, Ward 26 councillor Franchesca Walker, Cape Town mayor Dan Plato, and optometrist Ntombikayise Zitha at the launch of the Sha'p left healthcare clinic at Bellville terminus.
Health care has come closer to the people of Bellville after the Sha’p Left health-care clinic was launched on Saturday November 30. 

The clinic, which runs out of refurbished shipping containers at the Bellville taxi terminus, is the result of a partnership between the Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) and drug company Cipla. 

It will house two nurses, an optometrist and a chronic-medicine dispensary.

The public can use its services for a minimum fee of R180, for refilling prescriptions and follow ups, and a maximum fee of R250 for initial consultations. 

Herman Grobler, Cipla’s chief operations officer, said: “This facility, will allow people to get access to quality health care right on their doorstep and will save them time and money that they would be spending on travelling and waiting in long lines at places like the day hospitals. 

“We have similar units across the country, with this one being the 15th to house nurses, while it is only the second one to have the eye-care unit. The goal for us is to provide quality health care to all. However, it has to be a sustainable operation so a small fee will have to be paid in order for the nurses to keep the doors open.” 

Mr Grobler said Cipla would supply medicine to the clinic when needed. It had also contributed R1.7 million worth of equipment.

Five refurbished shipping containers house all the services at the clinic.

The facility itself is run by Mandisa Swarts, a qualified nurse. 

“We first opened our doors here on November 25, and eventually, after treating a few people, word got out, and we have started to see more and more people walk in,” Ms Swarts said. “Helping people is a true passion for me, and I am truly grateful to have this chance to help people.” 

Ms Swarts said Cipla had given her, the seed funding for the clinic, but running costs, including staff salaries, would be covered by the service fees.

“Since I started working in this field, I have spent time working at day hospitals and clinics while I am also no stranger to public and private hospitals. From working in these facilities, I was able to see the problems they face due to high number of patients, and that is why I got involved in opening this particular clinic.” 

Mr Grobbler said the facility would have a big digital presence to streamline day-to-day operations.

“The facility will also be fully IT integrated, which means that appointments will be made digitally and the stock levels will be automatically monitored. If one of the nurses prescribes an anti-biotic to a patient, the system will immediately pick up if the stock levels are running low and it will be delivered.

This will, of course, help the nurses focus on the primary jobs and not have to worry about still doing admin at the end of the day.

“The same goes with the dispensary, which I like to refer to as a ‘medical post office’, as anybody with a valid script can come in and get their tablets straight away.”

The GTP holds the lease to the land and its chief operating officer, Warren Hewitt, said he was pleased to be part of the initiative.

“The goal for this facility is to provide accessible, affordable, quality health care to the masses. Bellville terminus is possibly the busiest transport hub in the city so it is important to have a facility of this magnitude close by.”

One of the containers on the site would be a base of operations for local police, he said.

“A few years ago, due to many reasons, there has been very little police presence at the terminus. With this facility now opened, we made one container now available for them to turn into a mobile office. This will, of course, help the community and also keep patients safe.” 

Mayor Dan Plato, who was at the launch along with ward councillors, said the City supported the initiative.