Matjhabeng Local Municipality, Free State – Philips South Africa (“Philips”), has once again collaborated with Rhiza Babuyile (“Rhiza”), a non-profit organisation to improve access to primary healthcare across the Free State. Today, Philips and Rhiza along with a consortium consisting of IDC, ABSA and EOH Health launched a community health clinic and business hub in Hani Park, Welkom aimed at strengthening primary healthcare and inspiring the community to pursue entrepreneurship.
Designed to provide access to primary healthcare services to an estimated 2,000 patients a month, this holistic community-driven clinic is anticipated to improve the quality of life of the population living in the Hani Park Township with a focus on mother and child care. The clinic can facilitate early detection of high-risk pregnancies, and will create capabilities for health workers in rural communities to address obstetric challenges at a primary level.
In addition to maternal and child healthcare, dental care, and Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS screening will also be catered for at the clinic.
“The collaboration supports our collective responsibility to make a difference in the lives of South African citizens,” says Butana Komphela, the Free State MEC for health. “Focusing on community-based healthcare is a way to address the needs of people who currently don’t have access to basic, quality healthcare to in turn ensure that we are able to provide solutions that strengthen primary healthcare and facilitate community development.”
Next to the clinic, the community people will be having a business hub where young people will receive training, mentorship and use the hub as an office space for their businesses. Absa’s technology division, has equipped this hub with office furniture, IT infrastructure and cabling to provide a much-needed technology centre for local entrepreneurs, small business owners and the broader community.
The Free State is South Africa’s second-smallest Province by population after the Northern Cape with a population estimate of 2.8 million. According to the Higher Education in Regional City and Development, the Province has historically seen poorer outcomes than South Africa in general, and as far back as 1996, has consistently been ranked as having the lowest life expectancy at birth of all the Provinces.
Free State doctors face some of the greatest challenges and workloads in South Africa. To cater for the increasing demand and to take the burden away from tertiary level of care, Philips, the IDC and Rhiza came together to launch the community health clinic and to improve healthcare by providing technology and skills to health workers for the benefit of the community.
“It is with great pride that we have launched this community health clinic in the Free State where there is a chronic shortage of healthcare facilities and appropriate healthcare technology. By bringing healthcare directly to those most in need, we improve access which ultimately saves lives” states Ntutule Tshenye, CEO, Philips Southern Africa.
Through ongoing innovation, Philips and the project collaborators intend to address the issue of maternal and infant mortality. The community health clinic in Matjhabeng will also address safety and clinical outcomes by improving the reliability and accuracy of clinical data; early detection and management of potential clinical complications.
“It is through collaborations such as this that we are able to support government in addressing the challenges faced in providing quality services that will benefit communities,” says Nina Yose, the IDC’s Regional Manager in the Free State.
“This is our third collaboration with Philips; and another exciting milestone for us that will continue to build on the significant health outcomes that we have seen come out of our mobile health clinic, and Mini-Community Life Centre projects in Gauteng. Rhiza strongly believes that healthcare is the backbone of the community; as a non-profit organisation we pride ourselves in developing historically disadvantaged communities through a holistic approach that includes education, skills development, enterprise development and healthcare,” concluded Alef Meulenberg, Chairman of Rhiza.
Other collaboration partners supporting this community health clinic and business hub include Absa, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), EOH, Government of Flanders and The Department of Health in the Free State Province, who are all excited to be extending health services for the betterment of South Africa’s under-resourced communities.
 Higher Education in Regional City and Development