E Squared invests in infrastructure for lasting social impact

Rhiza Babuyile’s (RB) Diepsloot Clinic has reached completion

E Squared Social Entrepreneurship grant recipient, Rhiza Babuyile has officially launched its new brick and mortar clinic in Diepsloot with aims to maintain the high level of service and quality they’ve been providing over the last 7 years.

E Squared helped RB acquire the land they built this clinic on because we understand the importance of investments in infrastructure,particularly the acquisition and ownership of land that enables social entrepreneurs to have long-lasting social Impact. We’re very excited about what this development means for the community of Diepsloot.

See below for more on this story:

Rhiza Babuyile launches R5m state-of-the-art clinic in Diepsloot

By Nompilo Zulu, 8th Jul 2022

Rhiza Babuyile Clinic Diespsloot

Rhiza Babuyile (RB) launched its first brick-and-mortar clinic in Diepsloot West on Thursday after serving the community with mobile clinics for over a decade.

According to RB founders Rashuping Morake and Alef Meulenberg, the clinic, which is worth more than R5-million, will offer relief to public health in the area. It is the first of its kind offering private primary healthcare for as little as R100 per consultation and medication.

Rodney Makube, chief operating officer at RB, said: “The clinic will provide patients with quality service and [they] will be treated with the dignity they deserve. One of the benefits of the clinic’s service is that it costs a fraction of the cost of seeing a private doctor, with a consultation ranging between R100 and R200.”

Makube said patients will be charged a minimal fee to ensure the sustainability of the clinic in the long term. Considering the financial strain in the township, Makube said everyone is welcome as the clinic will be able to assist those who cannot afford the fee.

According to clinic manager Thandi Mgcina, patients will be assessed through engagement to determine whether or not they can afford the services.

“A nurse can determine the financial standing of the patient through engagement. By looking at them, checking what they had for dinner the previous night and what they had for breakfast, you can already tell that they need assistance,” said Mgcina.

Zintle Pongwana, a Diepsloot resident who visited the clinic for post-natal services on Thursday, said she would rather use RB services and pay than seeking help at a government clinic.

“The service at Rhiza is so good, they treat patients well. Unlike public clinics, here there is no queue, they are fast and friendly. At public clinics they are also rude,” said Pongwana.

According to Makube, the construction of the clinic was made possible by donations from RB partners Viatris, a global pharmaceutical company, and the Philips Foundation which provided diagnostic and healthcare technology.

RB also partnered with the Gauteng department of health, which is the main and only sponsor for medication.

Rashuping Morake and Rodney Makube at the Diepsloot Clinic during the building

Morake said the project would have been futile without the department’s contribution.

“The department of health’s contribution is the most expensive. If there is no medication, there is no clinic. We truly appreciate their contribution,” he said.

He said while people often criticise the government for not delivering on its promises, the clinic is a big example that the government is working. “This private-public sector partnership is a huge thing and people should check what the government does there.

“Through the partnership with DOH [department of health], the clinic will be assisting the government with its child immunisation programme, family planning services for young women, and the ongoing Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

“Rhiza Babuyile has been involved in assisting the government through its various community health programmes and this will be a continuation of that, which will also include the provision of medicines for acute and chronic illnesses.”

The clinic is equipped with advanced technology for prenatal care, GP consultations through telemedicine (remote diagnosis and treatment), and a fully stocked dispensary service.

The clinic also has an emergency room that will be functional in 2023.

The clinic, which reached more than 1 000 people a week through mobile clinic services, will now be able to attend to more patients a week, according to Makube.

“The resources and funds that have gone into this project are an investment into the lives of the Diepsloot community which has long deserved access to quality and affordable primary healthcare,” said Makube.

During the launch, Meulenberg honored Mgcina with a monument displayed at the clinic’s reception area, lauding her for providing excellent service throughout her career.

Seventy-year-old Mgcina, widely known as “Sister Thandi”, has worked in community healthcare for nearly 40 years. During that time, Mgcina has amassed several qualifications.

Meulenberg said Mgcina officially retired in 2013, after 35 years of service, thinking she was done with community health when she was approached by Morake to join the organisation.

“This led to Rhiza Babuyile opening its first mobile clinic in 2015 when she officially joined the organisation”.

Mgcina shared that she returned to her profession to serve the community because of passion. “I came back because I love what I’m doing,” she said.

“This is a legacy that will stay even beyond my life … I always say I am not an obituary person, but this just sums up everything I am.”

Sister Thandi Mgcina

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