Public-private partnership brings new dawn with opening of George clinic

7 Aug 2014 - 10:45

Dr Tina Plattner, representing her German philanthropist family officially opened the recently built Kuyasa (New Dawn) Clinic in Zone 9, Thembahlethu 9 July 2014. 

The clinic, a union of private and public organisations was made possible through the collaboration of the Hasso Plattner Foundation, the Isisombululo Programme, University of Cape Town and the Western Cape Department of Health (WCDH). 

At the opening of the Kuyasa Clinic From left: Prof Gregory Hussey(University of Cape Town), Dr Beth Engelbrecht(Deputy Director-General Chief of Operations), Dr Tina Plattner(Hasso Plattner Foundation), Prof Craig Househam(Head of Health Western Cape Government Health), Cllr Guga Fanele(George municipality) and Prof Hoosen Coovadia (Chairman Isisombululo Board). Photo: Supplied

Prof Gregory Hussey said that without the Plattner family and their substantial contribution this clinic would not have become a reality. “The construction of this colourful, modern primary health care facility was funded, planned and managed by the Isisombululo Programme at a cost of R7,5 million. 

Plattner emphasised that one of her family’s core beliefs is that everybody deserves access to first world health care. She said that her family has always had a close connection with Africa. She reminisces about visiting her grandmother, who was married to a German South African, in Camps Bay. “As a young girl the family enjoyed our holidays here. We loved the beautiful South African beaches. This country has given us much pleasure and we are pleased that we can give back to the people.”

Plattner emphasized that the highlight of the Kuyasa journey was the perseverance of the Programme Manager Brett Utian. Utian, the face of the project in the Southern Cape, successfully managers the Isisombululo programme which funds Antiretroviral Clinics in Thembalethu, George, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

Prof Craig Househam, Head of the WCDH told the George Herald that today the focus is “treatment for a cure” of HIV/AIDS. He stressed this should be done by treating mothers with HIV which will prevent the transmission of the disease to their babies. “Since there is no definite cure the need is to minimize the spreading of Aids by using ARVs. We have reduced the transmission rate to 1,7% in the Western Cape. With more clinics like Kuyasa we hope to bring the transmission rate down to zero. Currently we have 200 000 people on antiretroviral in the Province. 

The cost of the clinic is R8.7million; this includes R1, 2million that the WCDH spent on equipment. Househam said that the Isisombululo Programme kept the costs to a bare minimum but never skimped on anything. The clinic employs nine staff members and serves 18 000 patients monthly of which the majority are within walking distance. 

Cllr Fanela Guga thanked the Plattner family and the WCDH and promised that “The community will be the eyes and ears that will watch over the clinic”.

Isisombululo is a Xhosa word that means “solution”. The programme is administered by the University of Cape Town and has partnerships with the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health. One of their projects in the Southern Cape was to provide funding for the Kyusa clinic. The Program also supports the Faculty's mid-career fellowship programme and in the past provided significant funding for infrastructure development in the IDM.

Article by George Herald