The R6.8 million-wellness clinic includes rooms for social workers, dieticians and tuberculosis treatment. Opened this week, the clinic also houses a satellite pharmacy dedicated to dispensing chronic medication including HIV treatment. The pharmacy is expected to help decongest the hospital’s existing pharmacy and decrease waiting times.
At the clinic’s opening, Mpumalanga Health MEC Gillion Mashego urged young people to take advantage of HIV prevention services available like medical male circumcision at the hospital. He also encouraged more youth to pursue nursing as a career.
Large-scale studies in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda have shown that medical male circumcision can reduce a man’s risks of contracting HIV by about 60 percent.
In a province with country’s highest rate of road accident deaths, Mashego also noted that curbing alcohol abuse remained one of the Department of Health’s top health priorities.
“Alcohol abuse is one of the biggest problems we are facing as a department,” he told OurHealth. “It has a ripple effect on the health system.”
“People get drunk and drive their cars, cause accidents and we have to treat (them),” said Mashego, adding that unsafe sex while under the influence of alcohol was likely one of the factors driving new HIV infections in the hard-hit province. “We have to take the brunt of it as health professionals.”
Mandla Tsotetsi is on antiretrovirals (ARVs) and has welcomed the new extension of the hospital’s outpatient department.
“We used to collect our medication from a four-room house, which was supposed to be accommodation for doctors but the hospital choose to use it as a ARV clinic because of the need,” he said. “This clinic is close to my workplace and I am able to collect (my medication) and get to work on time.”
Standerton Hospital serves more than 162,000 patients within a 87-km radius.