(Published - 19 March 2019)
The Faculty of Community and Health Sciences (CHS) has had a 15 year relationship with the small town of Genadendal in the Theewaterskloof Municipality. The faculty has throughout the years offered various services to the community, and 2019 has been no different.
From 11-12 April, third-year students from nursing, physiotherapy, nutrition and dietetics and natural medicine delivered much needed health, wellness and wellbeing screening services in Genadendal.
Residents from nearby areas such as Greyton and Berea, as well as farm workers and senior citizens, came for their screenings. This forms part of the faculties’ annual community outreach development and engagement initiative delivering health, wellness and wellbeing promotion and awareness in communities.
The project is spearheaded by Professor Hester Julie, Deputy Dean for Clinical and Community Engagement, and Dr Gérard Filies (acting head) of the Interprofessional Education Unit.
“There is great need for our service in the Genadendal community, which is testament to the impact our students and their supervisors are making. We need to do this more often, but that can only happen with the right financial backing. Somehow, UWC and external stakeholders need to pull our resources together and make that possible,” said Prof Julie.
This community engagement originated from identifying the need for basic and health services as the biggest challenges in rural communities. CHS students offered dietary and nutrition services and advice, physical rehabilitation, physiotherapy, and natural medicine treatment in the form of Chinese medicine, naturopathy, phytotherapy and Unani Tibb. There were also wellness and health screenings for BMI, cholesterol, CDM (blood pressure), blood glucose HGT (sugar test) and TB symptoms.
Baninzi Siphosethu Blaza, a third-year nursing student, described the experience as an eye opener.
“We were exposed to minor and serious medical conditions. We had to think and act accordingly...you could easily refer a patient to physiotherapy students if the condition was physical in nature,” he said.
The emphasis of the outreach programme is to drive interdisciplinary collaboration and cooperation between the various health programmes within CHS.
The success of the programme this year can also be attributed to the effective partnership and collaboration with government, such as the Department of Health, and community-based organisations, schools and religious groups.
CHS is committed to conducting more health screening outreach projects in 2019. UWC is an engaged university, and expanding its footprint in the rural areas forms part of the University’s Institutional Operational Plan (IOP).
Mr Alex Asanda Plaatjies
Faculty Officer: Public Relations & Marketing
Faculty of Community and Health Sciences
Tel: 021 959 3683/Cell: 0719320659