Bidvest Insurance recently handed over a cheque for R575 000 to the LIV Owethu Clinic, in the Cottonlands Rural Development in KwaZulu-Natal, which will go towards managing the Covid-19 outbreak and helping local communities with medication and healthcare. The funding will also enable staff to increase health education and disease prevention in the greater Cottonlands area.
Phil Donnelly, MD of Bidvest Insurance, and other team members were met by LIV Business CEO Lee Shutte, and the chief doctor at the clinic, Dr Gerlinde Mandersloot.
The clinic supports approximately 20 000 people from the surrounding areas and tends to 25-80 patients a day. The clinic staff is comprised of two nurses, a dentist, and Dr Mandersloot. The staff are driven by a love and passion for the community, earning about a third of the average medical professional’s salary for their labour. Visits to the clinic and over-the-counter medication are free of charge.
Some of the biggest challenges in the community are diseases associated with poverty and a lack of healthcare education. Treating patients for illnesses related to them not taking their prescribed chronic medication used to be a serious issue in the area, but has decreased significantly since the introduction of the clinic.
“During the initial lockdown, the government clinic staff were not able to offer their weekly clinics, which increased the workload for our staff,” says Dr Mandersloot. “We also started seeing the effects of a lack of income very early on, and have been able to support those in need with enriched porridge, especially the younger children.”
The clinic has been supporting more than 350 families every month in lockdown in the way of food parcels provided by LIV.
“We have not seen any new cases of malnutrition since the Covid-19 pandemic started, which is a testament to the hard work of the staff, and thanks to the generous donations from donors,” Dr Mandersloot says. Furthermore, there hasn’t been an increase in patients with a cold and flu this season, due in part to an emphasis on hand hygiene, however, mental health complaints have been on the rise. “It is something we are working on,” she says. The clinic is one of the few facilities continuing to provide basic dental care.
The LIV model is centred on sustainability, therefore Bidvest Insurance has agreed to partner with LIV for the long term. The Bidvest Insurance team, together with LIV, is also working on developing a clean drinking water solution for the local community.