Serving God’s people together, Tapologo and DoH work side by side
In Freedom Park, outside Rustenburg, we have found an exemplary relation between Tapologo ART project (NGO) and Department of Health clinic. This team aims to serve a suffering community, together.
Freedom Park is an informal settlement situated near Rustenburg in North West Province. It was established in the 1980s when poor people from other parts of South Africa were attracted by the possibility of employment at the nearby Impala Platinum mine.
Today Freedom Park has a population of approximately 25000 people. There is little public infrastructure and residents lack adequate access to sanitation, electricity, and potable water.
People live in tin shacks and some have a make shift house with plastic bags. Because of high crime rates and fear very few shacks have windows. Due to the lack of sanitation services you will find the whole area scattered with plastic bags containing human faeces, anther great risk for community health.
In 1997, Tapologo hospice was founded by Bishop Kevin Dowling and nursing sister Georgina Boswell who realised that there was a huge need to help people deal with HIV/AIDS in the community. Many patients from Freedom Park received treatment in the in-patient-unit at Tapologo. Sr Georgina started a primary health clinic in Freedom Park, it was said she use to counsel patients under a tree and dispensed drugs from the boot of her car.
Later years with assistance from generous donations her team was working from containers and parkhomes. In 2004 through SACBC AIDS Office Tapologo received PEPFAR funding to roll out ARV’s. Freedom Park benefited from this project.
January 2013 Sr Georgina handed the Freedom Park Clinic to the North West Department of Health to continue the service to the people.
While Tapologo is waiting the signing of an MOU with DoH to receive ARV’s from Government, the Tapologo team at Freedom Park is building an excellent working relationship. Sr Moeng the sister in-charge of the DoH primary health clinic said that they were received with open arms and made felt very welcome from day one. The Tapologo staff together with the DoH staff help each other where ever they can, all patients go to Tapologo for HIV counselling and testing, patients with all other illnesses go to the Primary health clinic. When it is not so busy Tapologo staff assists with whatever is needed. Even the space is being shared, two rooms at the DoH side has been made available for counselling by Tapologo staff.
Meetings are held often and communication is always friendly and in a spirit of helping one another.
Tapologo Home Based Caregivers assist with the tracing of TB and AIDS defaulters.