Local initiative, Asivikelane Health, is helping communities and healthcare workers in BCMM come together to tackle patient mistreatment, inefficient administration, and long queues at local clinics like Drake Road Clinic and Greenfields Clinic.
A collaboration between Small Projects Foundation (SPF) and International Budget Partnership SA (IBPSA), Asivikelane Health has been working at 15 BCMM clinics since 2021 and its efforts has seen an 85% increase in service delivery with more local clinics prioritising shorter waiting times, opening on time, and treating patients better.
Asivikelane Health tries, through data collection based on patients’ experiences, clinic committee involvement and clinic staff planning, to bring clinics closer to the health department’s ideal clinic framework which seeks to have good infrastructure, adequate staff, sufficient medicine, medical supplies and good administrative processes at all clinics
Asivikelane’s community health workers are sent out to the clinics to conduct anonymous surveys with 10 regular patients monthly. The results are collated and provided to the clinic staff so that plans can be developed and implemented by clinic committee members to address challenges highlighted by patients.
SPF director Dr Paul Cromhout said the project hopes to expand to include 30 Buffalo City clinics in 2024 because its success proves that despite resource limitations, service delivery is attainable.
Cromhout also believes the project rebuilds community trust in the health system because it empowers patients to hold clinics accountable in their operations through trained clinic committees.
At Drake Road clinic in Nahoon, patients indicated poor infrastructure, non-functional appointment systems and long waiting times as challenges, while patients from Greenfields Clinic highlighted shortage of staff, prescribed medication supplied inconsistently and no youth services as concerns.
With this information, clinics were able to put in place programs to meet patients’ needs. Patients reported a 92% improvement in waiting times.
In 2024, the project hopes to expand its reach also in Nelson Mandela Bay and OR Tambo District while also creating a package of this project that will allow any district in the province to replicate this system.
Community health centers and public clinics are the primary entry points for healthcare services to alleviate the overflow of patients at hospitals and the Asivikelane Health project wants to ensure these services are working.
At clinics across BCMM, such as Thembalethu Clinic, Asivikelane Health’s efforts have seen the clinic staff rotate lunch hours to ensure not all staff take lunch at the same time and prepare patients’ files the day before to eliminate waiting time
At Twecu Clinic, the staff updates patient files consistently and prepare paperwork for chronic medication supplies in advance. At Potsdam Clinic, Asivikelane Health workers are now conducting monthly monitoring meetings with clinic staff to keep them up to date on patient feedback.
Cromhout believes Asivikelane Health is playing a pivotal role in community health.
Cromhout said: “Working together as clinic staff, clinic committees, communities, and businesses, we can make everyday miracles.”
For more information and to contribute to this community project to improve local health care please visit; https://www.spf.org.za/ or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.