The Rotary E-Club of Southern Africa D9400, in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Edina Morningside, has partnered with the University of Pretoria’s Community Oriented Primary Care (UP COPC) unit in a project (valued at R1,6 million) in the Melusi informal settlement community, located west of the City of Tshwane. The UP COPC’s unit has been working in this area for over four years and is an implementation partner in this maternal and child health project, which was launched in April.
Maternal and child care remains a primary focus area within UP’s COPC Research Unit and forms part of its Informal Settlement Health Programmes. It is also one of Rotary’s seven key focus areas. Dr Ellenore Meyer, Primary Research Investigator and Project Lead, COPC Research Unit, and member of the E-Club of Southern Africa, shared that the Rotary Grant will enable holistic maternal and child care on three strategic levels of access: healthcare, nutrition and education.
"The programme we are implementing in 2021 will expand on our COVID-19 health and social support efforts to enable more people to manage their health status and achieve self-actualisation. We are truly excited to see the national value of this model in practice," Dr Meyer said.
The research unit established a Holistic Health Hub in Melusi, and now has programmes running in a further three informal settlements in and around Pretoria, including Zama Zama (pilot site over seven years old), Woodlane Village, and Cemetery View. A roaming multi-disciplinary health team visits each Holistic Health Post weekly, with the structure consisting of a medical doctor/project co-ordinator, dietician, environmental health officer and COPC team leader and registered nurse, as well as community health workers from the area appointed for each site. The project includes local collaboration and networking with NGOs, community leaders and volunteers to strengthen the success of healthcare, nutrition and education improvement efforts. This partnership with Rotary will enable the organisations to build a training centre, a teaching kitchen and ablutions for the Melusi Phela Hantle project (meaning ‘to live a good life in Melusi’ in Sotho). This will complement the clinic container donated by Matter NGO and Rotary, and from which UP already offers services to the community.
As one of its main focus areas, Rotary aims to makes high-quality healthcare available to vulnerable mothers and children so they can live longer and grow stronger. “We are looking forward to seeing the positive impact this project will have on the Melusi community,” said Carolyn Khoury, Rotary District 9400 Assistant Governor. “We are particularly excited to have launched it in April – Rotary’s Child and Maternal Health month. The E-Club values their partnership with both UP (COPC) and International Rotary partners.”
Jeremy Newhouse, Senior Vice President of Operations at Matter NGO and member of the Edina Morningside Rotary Club, said, “In this centennial year of Rotary in Africa, the Edina Morningside Rotary Club is thrilled to partner with its South African Rotary friends and the University of Pretoria in this joint effort of contributing to the health of the Melusi community while building goodwill and better friendships. Investing in the lives of mothers and children is an investment in a better future for all. We have high hopes and confidence in the team of partners in South Africa who, with this grant, are working tirelessly to improve lives in the Melusi community."