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Sandveld Health Centre: A Clinic for Paleisheuwel, Thanks to Enel Green Power

3 min.

Sandveld Health Centre: A Clinic for Paleisheuwel, Thanks to Enel Green Power

EGP and Cederberg Matzikama AIDS Network (CMAN) have built a permanent clinic for the residents of Paleisheuwel, near the solar plant of the same name. Until a few weeks ago, the small South African farming community could only receive healthcare every 6 weeks.

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South Africa is a land of opportunity and contrasts. Between the three capitals – modern cities in constant demographic growth – there are communities that live in remote areas, where agriculture is the sole resource of living. Areas where access to basic services is difficult.

It is often difficult to access basic healthcare services, this was the case for Paleisheuwel, a small farming community in the province of Western Cape, until a few weeks ago the community could only access healthcare services – once every six weeks from a mobile clinic sent by Citrusdal.

The alternative to the mobile clinic was not convenient for a community with limited financial resources: the mobile clinic was about 50 km away, just to buy medicine or dress a wound, not ideal for a community with a low per capita income.

An unsustainable situation, which has changed with the help of Enel Green Power South Africa. Thanks to our partnership with an NGO in Citrusdal – the CMAN and EGPRSA has successfully brought significant improvements to the living conditions of the community of Paleisheuwel, by building a permanent clinic.

 

Health, Shared Value

Working together, Enel Green Power and CMAN raised the funds needed to create a Health Centre for the local community. A building was identified and renovation work were contracted to local labourers – in accordance with the concept of creating shared value between EGP and the community – and in May 2019, construction began on the clinic.

Enel Green Power, which has managed an 82.5-MW photovoltaic plant in Paleisheuwel since 2016, has maintained their commitment and, with the collaboration of CMAN, has involved the local community in every step of the healthcare facility’s creation. From the location – a central building, easily accessible for farmers and their families – to the collection of input, to meet the primary needs of the population.

All the way up to the name of the structure, which was selected with a contest. From the deep link between people and the land – taken as the soft sand veil that the residents of Paleisheuwel walk on every day – the Sandveld Health Centre was born.

 

“From Zero to Hero” in Less than Two Months

On 4 July 2019, less than two months after construction was started, the community was invited to the inauguration of the clinic. More than 200 people were able to visit the premises and witness the opening ceremony at JP Visser Hall.

Speakers included the director of CMAN, Christiaan OersonAnne Campbell, from the Western Cape Health Department, Lizeka Dlepu for Enel Green Power South Africa and M. Nella, Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Cederberg.

Attendees were moved by the simple words of 76-year-old Faans Bois, one of Paleisheuwel’s oldest residents.

 

“One day, along the road to the clinic in the city, it started to rain and I had to take shelter under a tree. In that moment, I asked myself when all these sacrifices in search of medical assistance would end. Now I can say that I am happy.”

– Fanns Bois, 76 years old, resident of the Paleisheuwel farming community.

 

Residents can now use the clinic’s services 3 days a week, from 9:00 to 15:00. The medical facility is always staffed with a nurse, an assistant nurse, an administrator and three workers from the healthcare community, selected and trained from the local community.

In 8 months – the time needed to obtain a license – the centre will be able to operate as a full functional clinic. Currently, the Sandveld Health Centre can provide routine medicines, manage chronic patients long-term as long as they are stable, provide blood pressure and blood sugar checks, treat wounds, guarantee HIV tests and provide family and lifestyle consultations. Some patients with tuberculosis have been identified, who are now able to get direct and daily medical treatment.

Sandveld has become a point of reference, and not only for medical treatment. Among the several groups that meet regularly at the clinic, the Western Cape on Wellness (WOW) was set up, made up of chronic patients and the elderly. The reason? To exercise and dance.

Enel Green Power continues to promote the social, cultural and economic development of the Rainbow Nation. Following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, or strengthening our commitment to training the energy leaders of the future, there is only one path forward for an increasingly green and sustainable tomorrow: the creation of shared value.

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