Community health hub extends Khayelitsha care

CAPE TOWN - Doctors Without Borders is launching a new healthcare project in Khayelitsha. The humanitarian organisation will run a community health hub for a year, after which the Department  of Health will take over.

The Wellness Hub in Khayelitsha looks like a basic structure, but it could provide the basis for the much-anticipated National Health Insurance scheme.

The emphasis is on quality health care that is easily accessible.

The Wellness Hub attends to a range of illnesses and diseases such as HIV,TB, sexually transmitted infections, diabetes and hypertension.

The centre could significantly lower health-care costs.

"People who are ill, before they know they are ill, we can connect them to care. Which is also saving a lot of money. Otherwise they go in late, and then it becomes very expensive to treat those illnesses," said project director John Ashmore.

The local community is taking advantage of the extended hours.

"People who come are working long hours: working until 5 o’clock. They come here because the clinics close at 4 o’clock, and it&39;s too overloaded at the clinics. They avoid long queues," said Buyi Hlophe, a nurse at the hub.

Ashmore says that community centres are an important first step in implementing the NHI scheme.

"The first phase of the NHI is to improve the quality and access of health services before changing the financing mechanism. You need these community outreach centres."

The community has been instrumental in the setting up of the hub, which is already a step closer to improving health care for all.