Raising the volume to make a healthy change

The Heideveld community is invited to attend an annual general meeting on Tuesday July 19, to elect people to serve on the Heideveld Health Committee, among others.

The interim committee of the Heideveld Health Committee has appealed to the community to get involved, so that their voices can be heard, should any challenges arise.

The health committee at the Heideveld Community Health Centre has not been active for a while, and without a structure like this, issues affecting patients at the facility, might not get the corrective attention they need.

On Tuesday July 19, an annual general meeting (AGM) will be held at the Heideveld Community Health Centre, from 3.30pm, so that the health committee can be a recognised structure once more.

“With a health committee, meaningful contributions can be made for solutions to any challenges patients might have,” said Vanessa John, who is part of the interim committee.

“I hope people will make themselves available to serve on this structure, as positive change can only happen then.”

Ms John is an activist who served on a health committee “many years ago”, and was concerned when she realised that the committee in Heideveld had become dormant. It has been a year since she got involved with the interim committee, and is passionate about putting this structure in place.

Her interest in the health sector was sparked not only because she herself suffers from chronic illness, but because through her activism, she has been involved in workshops hosted by various organisations. “I attend the workshops of the People’s Health Movement, where people are not just empowered with the information shared by a facilitator, but we also learn from one another as the community. The University of Cape Town’s Learning Network also hosts workshops, among them a workshop I attended which dealt with how to sustain health committees,” Ms John said.

Rene Ackerman is also part of the interim committee.

“The community must understand that a health committee is only a doorkeeper – they have the power. There is strength in unity,” she said.

Ms John said apart from the workload, which has increased at the emergency unit of the Heideveld Community Health Centre, since the closure of GF Jooste, staff also have to deal with violent behaviour displayed by drug addicts.

“What is of great concern, on a daily basis, is the problem of violent and aggressive behaviour, which is causing serious structural damage to our facility, and it affects patient care, as well as the safety of patients and staff.

“The severity and enormity of the effect of illegal substance abuses needing the services of various medical departments at health facilities, lessens the quality of service to other patients.

If you would like to attend the AGM, on Tuesday July 19, contact Ms John at 078 177 4155 or email vanessadennis03@gmail.com or Ms Ackerman at 084 411 6613 or ackermanrene@gmail.com