Denis Hurley Centre Clinic remains steadfast in the face of Covid-19
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to sweep through our communities, the primary healthcare clinic at the Denis Hurley Centre has been steadfast in offering health and hope to the homeless and refugees who live on the streets of central Durban. Staff take every precaution to lessen the risks of exposure to the virus, but in fact, they have not encountered a single Covid related death among the thousands of patients seen throughout the past year.
The most pressing health problems faced by patients of the clinic remain the same: HIV, TB, opportunistic infections and the everyday illnesses that are more difficult to shake off when patients don’t have enough food to eat, proper shelter or sanitation. TB and antiretroviral medication has to be taken daily, preferably on a full stomach. It has been difficult in the past for homeless people to adhere to this regimen. But over the past 12 months, clinic staff have helped 25 people overcome TB.
But thanks to a Daily Observed Treatment Strategy (DOTS) overseen by the dedicated clinic social worker, Nonhlanhla Nhlangulela, and Mpume Fuze at the Dalton Road clinic, 25 people have, over the past 12 months, become clear of TB. A further 120 people currently taking ARVs and/or TB medication continue to be monitored. If one of them doesn’t turn up for their daily medication, we try to find them through the mobile clinic so we can get them back on track as soon as possible.
Thankfully, most of the clinic team were vaccinated in the first phase of the South African vaccination roll out. The work of the clinic was also recently recognised in the form of a substantial donation from the CAPRISA Cares Foundation. The money will fund clinic activities for about 2 weeks. It costs about R120,000 ($3,500) to treat over 1,200 patients each month.
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