The first of the Community Outreach events occurred at the faculty’s CHS Campus in the Bellville CBD on Tuesday, 28 September 2021. The mobile vaccination drive then went to the Fisantekraal community on Wednesday, 29 September 2021. The outreach events were hosted in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Health (WCDOH).
This initiative was born out of the need for vaccine education and awareness, registration, and access to vaccines in communities in and around Cape Town. The WCDOH was supported by vaccinators, students and staff from the UWC community. It brought the vaccine to commuters, shoppers and employees in and around the busy Bellville CBD, where most public transport users pass through, and in the heart of the Fisantekraal community, where there is little access to healthcare and social services.
In the Bellville CBD, at the CHS Campus, a pop-up vaccination site was set up inside the building whilst observing all COVID-19 protocols. The campus is strategically located in the CBD next to Middestad Mall, and is close to the taxi rank. UWC students ventured into the CBD, as far as the Bellville station, distributing flyers, educating members of the public and creating awareness whilst inviting people to get vaccinated. Many people responded positively and came out in numbers to get vaccinated. A total of 150 people were vaccinated in Bellville on Tuesday.
The next day, the programme took place at the Fisantekraal Community Hall. As the UWC and WCDOH teams arrived, scores of people were patiently waiting in long queues to be vaccinated. CHS students carried out health promotion and awareness activities with members of the community and assisted persons in the queues to register for the vaccination.
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“This was a phenomenal success as we managed to vaccinate 380 people within the set time and the community was very pleased with our service. This shows our commitment to the health and well-being of our communities,” said Prof Firdouza Waggie, Deputy Dean for Clinical and Community Engagement.
Community outreach programmes fall within Prof Waggie’s portfolio and she ensures that the Faculty of CHS maintains its footprint with a strong presence of students doing fieldwork and projects in under-resourced communities.
The unique part of the vaccination drive was that it demonstrated the need for a multi-stakeholder approach and collaboration in combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. It illustrated the need for vaccination drives of this nature to contribute immensely in containing the pandemic and its impact.
Earlier this year, students from the School of Nursing in the Faculty of CHS assisted with the vaccination roll-out programme in the province.
The Faculty and the University are excited to be collaborating with the WCDOH on this very important community outreach and will consider more initiatives of this nature in the future.