In an instant someone can change from an enemy, a drug lord, a rapist or a murder and into a helpless patient in need of your help.

These strategies were announced by Dr Mpho Phalatse, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Health and Social Development in the City of Johannesburg, during a surprise visit to the four Region E clinics in Alexandra.

Her unannounced visit was to the Sandown, 8th Avenue, Eastbank and the newly built Riverpark clinics. Riverpark, she said, would be expanded to include a drug rehabilitation centre.

With over R1 billion allocated to her departments, Phalatse said the bulk of the operational funding would be spent to bolster staff numbers so that clinic hours could be extended.

“Though this is not optimal, we’ll have to do our best with what we are given. The staff challenge at our clinics is paramount. Both health and social are labour intensive departments,” she said, adding that there were plans to house social workers at clinics where they played an integral part in the provision of health services.


Partnering with other players such as Anova and Right To Care, Phalatse said had helped to augment the resource constraints.
One of the members of the Eastbank Clinic’s Clinic Health Committe (CHC), Tonic Phukubye, applauded Phalatse’s visit and said this was a bold move enabling her to see firsthand the challenges faced by the clinics.

Finance MMC Dr Rabelani Dagada, during his recent budget speech, said the drug addiction pandemic in Johannesburg continued to destroy too many lives, especially the youth. He said the City had therefore set aside R30-million and had earmarked five clinics – Westbury, Tladi, Riverpark, 80 Albert Street and Eldorado Park – as drug rehabilitation centres.

However, Dagada said: “These five clinics first have to be accredited by Gauteng Social Development before they are able to proceed.”
Emmanuel Mangena from South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) said: “This is a good idea and it will help us a lot. At the moment we have to take young people who are addicted to faraway places such as Boksburg and Krugersdorp. Now their rehabilitation will be closer to their families.” – Health-e News.

An edited version of this story was also published in Health24