The university’s contribution is not going unnoticed: it was awarded a certificate of recognition by the Western Cape Department of Health (DoH) for hosting a vaccination outreach drive in the Fisantekraal community on 29 September 2021.
“The impact could be seen, especially at Fisantekraal where the community doesn't have access to money for transport,” said Professor Firdouza Waggie, the UWC Vaccination Site Manager and Deputy Dean for Clinical and Community Engagement.
Prof Waggie and Mr Bentley Jeftha, Head of the UWC Risk and Compliance Department, accepted the award from the DoH on behalf of UWC.
Prof Waggie said, “We are grateful to UWC staff and students and all the partners who contributed to making this day a huge success.
UWC SCHOOL OF NURSING OVERVIEW
“The nursing students engaged with the community by means of a door-to-door educational campaign, educating them about vaccines and their role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This was an important exercise as it helped to allay some of the fears and myths pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccines.”
On the day of the vaccination outreach, the Fisantekraal community came out in their numbers and the event was a huge success with nearly 473 community members receiving the vaccination on the day. This successful drive demonstrated the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration and teamwork in combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This community outreach programme is part of the Community Health Sciences’ (CHS) strategic objective that ensures the faculty maintains and strengthens its community footprint by providing a strong presence of students doing fieldwork and projects in collaboration with multiple stakeholders in under-resourced communities.
“As with other outreach projects, our students handed out reading material about proper mask-wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene, and education about COVID-19 symptoms. The community appreciated the assistance, especially with vaccine registrations on the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS),” said Prof Waggie.
A third-year nursing student, Lahai Rois Iradukunda, commented: “I enjoyed reaching out to people and teaching them about the vaccine and was happy to be part of the student community outreach in Fisantekraal. It was a life-changing journey for me, because I haven’t been exposed to the kind of living conditions I saw in Fisantekraal. I enjoyed the way in which the people were sociable and easy to talk to and how easily they participated in the outreach. It was also good to see how warmly they interacted with each other. It made me realise that people from this community cared about each other and I found that most people actually wanted to be vaccinated.”
Facts about the UWC Vaccination centre
- As per the National Department of Health (NDOH) circular H220/2021, J&J boosters took effect on 24 December 2021 and Pfizer boosters on 28 December 2021. The vaccination centre started administering Pfizer boosters when it re-opened on 17 January 2022 and later started administering J&J Boosters from 1 February 2022.
- Approval to administer the booster vaccination is received once the NDOH sends out a circular, which the UWC Vaccination Centre responds to with immediate effect.
- Nine UWC students work in the vaccination centre.