Covid-19 is slowly being taken more seriously in outlying areas, such as Botshabelo, Free State and according to Dineo Motloang from the Positive Action Campaign (PAC), unfunded organisations like Phuthanang Mental Health Institution need to be supported through the difficulties of the national Covid-19 lockdown.
To that end, 30 bars of soap, white cloth face masks and bleach was donated to the mental health organisation, by PAC and National Association of People Living HIV/AIDS (NAPWA). Phuthanang Mental Health Institution houses 25 male patients and two female patients. All 27 patients reside full-time at the institution in Botshabelo.
Compliance with Covid-19 regulations
The organisation was started in 2002, and Vincent Gaza inherited Phuthanang Mental Health Institution from his late father. The institution operates from an RDP house in Section M, Botshabelo and the original building has been extended accommodate all patients. The organisation receives patients from Bloemfontein, Thaba Nchu and other towns in Free State.
Their biggest challenge remains to own a site where they can operate from, and Gaza says that the institution has always rented buildings but that rentals “take most of the budget away from daily expenses like food and stipends for volunteering staff.”
The institution could not afford to procure its own enough bleach and masks, with Gaza saying that he wasn’t aware of where to even begin looking for sanitising supplies.
“I don’t even know where to buy the bleach and sanitisers in bulk. We didn’t have enough masks for everyone but I am happy for this donation because it will help us to comply with the Covid-19 regulations and also protect our residents,” he says.
Safety for patients and staff
Dineo Motloang, from PAC, says they have joined hands with NAPWA to ask for PPE donations. These PPE donations will then go to struggling organisations and individuals, such as Phuthanang.
“These organisations are not funded and they struggle to procure enough personal equipment so we are helping them be safe from Covid-19,” she said. Thandi Chaka from NAPWA says they have visited several organisations that don’t even have enough soap for bathing, let alone for constant hand washing.
“We have realised that people are beginning to take Covid-19 seriously because the positive cases are increasing rapidly in Botshabelo. At first people were reluctant to accept sanitisers because they didn’t believe that Covid-19 was a reality but now they take it seriously.”
Before handing out thirty personal sanitisers the pair shared information about Covid-19 to residents. Management was also trained about correct method of washing hands and caring for the masks. – Health-e News