If they don’t have private transport, the elderly and sickly of De Novo have to walk long distances to medical facilities in Kraaifontein or wait until the mobile clinic makes its monthly stop in the area.
Residents of the farming community, which doesn’t have access to public transport, say it seems beggars can’t be choosers, and the provincial Health Department’s VW Kombi is well received when it visits.
Some of the residents said they felt compelled to pop in for a check-up, even if they felt fine, to avoid having to trek to Kraaifontein later when the clinic was not around.
On Monday May 9, the Kombi, driven by the lone nurse who attends to the residents, was stationed at De Novo for several hours.
Residents said when the Kombi came around, neighbouring farm workers also had to rush to get medical attention to avoid walking long distances or having to wait another month.
Resident Letisia Harrison commended the service “because it’s one of the few things we have”. She added, “They’re very good. Everyone is pleased with the Kombi coming around, even though it’s once a month.”
Long-time resident Yvonne Jooste said the Kombi had been visiting the community for more than 20 years.
“We don’t even have taxis to take us to Wallacedene and Bloekombos clinics.”
She said residents prayed they never had to take themselves or a relative to hospital in an emergency at night.
“A majority of people here, like myself, are pensioners. When the van comes along, it makes things better for everyone,” she said, adding that one day she hoped to see the area get its own clinic.
The Department of Health referred questions about the provision of health services in De Novo to the City of Cape Town, whose mayoral committee member for health, Siyabulela Mamkeli, said there were plans to acquire additional mobile services in the sub-district, which includes Klipheuwel and Philadelphia.
While De Novo doesn’t fall under the City, residents say they share the services with surrounding community residents, walking as far as Klipheuwel, or vice versa, to utilise the services.
“However, due to budget limitations, we are unable to have a fleet of mobile clinics that could service every area of the metropole.
“Apart from purchasing these vehicles, they also have to be fully kitted for the needs of providing a health service, which is an additional cost that we have planned to be addressed,” Mr Mamkeli said.