Ekurhuleni residents now have better access to health-care as Pfizer’s R11m injection provides nine new Unjani clinics

Ekurhuleni residents now have better access to health-care as Pfizer’s R11m injection provides nine new Unjani clinics

Johannesburg – Residents of Daggafontein, Ekurhuleni, will no longer have to travel five kilometres, often on foot, to access the nearest government clinic following the opening of a primary private healthcare facility in the area, courtesy of Unjani Clinics and Pfizer.

This is the first of nine new clinics that the non-profit organisation, Unjani Clinics, will establish thanks to an additional R11 million donation from Pfizer, pledged earlier this year. The company’s Cluster Lead: SSA and Country Manager: South Africa, Kevin Francis, said the investment is central to the company’s efforts to support systemic transformation in South Africa’s healthcare system.

“(We are) committed to continuing its partnership with Unjani, through empowering women healthcare providers and delivering breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. Good health means healthier and more productive societies, which in turn means a stronger local economy. We have to sustain a healthy workforce,” he said.

The company has supported the Unjani Clinic Network since 2016. So far, the company has helped fund ten sonar machines and established eight clinics in various rural and urban communities including Potchefstroom, Gqeberha, Sasolburg and George.

Unjani Clinics CEO, Lynda Toussaint accepts an R11 million cheque from Pfizer Country Manager: South Africa Cluster Lead: Sub Saharan Africa, Kevin Francis. The money will go towards the establishment of nine new clinics. Supplied image.

To date, Unjani Clinics has set up 154 clinics nationwide, with the goal of establishing more than 600 clinics by December 2030. Each clinic is run by a professional nurse or “nursepreneur”, as a small business.

Unjani Clinics CEO, Lynda Toussaint, said one of the strengths of Unjani Clinics lies in the nurses identifying an area that needs access to affordable primary healthcare.

“The nurses are generally from the areas where the clinics will be located or they have a close association with the communities they select. The Daggafontein site was identified by Sister Nomvula Happiness Tsimong, who uncovered a pressing need for easier access to primary healthcare in her community,” added Toussaint.

The idea of “nursepreneurs” was started in 2010 by Dr Iain Barton who recognised the shortages of doctors in SA.

“Many of the ailments that patients face can be dealt with by a qualified nurse. Nurses are the entry level engagement and serious cases can be referred to doctors if needed,” Toussaint said.

Tsimong, affectionately known as “Mamma Action” in her community, has been practising at various government facilities since 2005 and has now taken on the role of a “nursepreneur” and is excited to grow her business through serving the Daggafontein community.

She will initially employ a clinic assistant and take on a learner, with the aim of growing her team as the clinic takes off. The provision of services will include childhood immunisation, family planning and maternity support, wound care, laboratory blood services, HIV testing and counselling, and management of patients on antiretroviral therapy.

Tsimong grew up in Newcastle, KZN and said she knows all too well about the challenges of accessing quality and affordable healthcare. At the tender age of 20, she left KZN and set off for Gauteng where her dream was to make a tangible difference to poor rural communities.

“For just R300, my patients can get a full examination and medication. We use state of the art technology and provide the best care. This is a dream come true. I come from a family of nurses. This is an under-served, low income community and I cannot be more blessed to bring affordable healthcare to the people,” Tsimong said.

The mother of three boys aged 17, 10 and seven said two of her sons plan to become doctors and follow in their parents’ footsteps to provide quality healthcare to communities.

The Daggafontein Unjani Clinic is a family affair, hubby also works at the clinic and said he could not be more proud of his wife. Tsimong said the clinic plans to see an average of 1200 patients per month and will service the areas of Daggafontein, Selcourt, Struisbult, Sharon Park, Edelweiss and Endicott in Springs.

The R11-million investment will go toward setting up nine clinics in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, the Western Cape, the Northern Cape, the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the North West. Toussaint added Pfizer is playing an invaluable role in creating equitable opportunities that enable South Africans to have access to quality primary healthcare.

“Pfizer has provided significant support to Unjani Clinics over the past seven years. It is through such continued partnerships that Unjani can deliver healthcare to South African communities that need it most.”

Source: https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/ekurhuleni-residents-now-have-better-access-to-health-care-as-pfizers-r11m-injection-provides-nine-new-unjani-clinics-b41bbda6-8543-47be-b95d-d2db3ebfb012