THE recent opening of the Shandukani Maternal and Child Health Centre surely represents a glimmer of hope for the people of Hillbrow.
It means a forward step towards a better existence and progress in the restoration efforts of the area to its former glory. Three generous and considerate corporate citizens dug deep into their coffers and came out with hands full to shown pity on and participate in the ongoing change of Hillbrow’s dire situation. An combined amount of R28 million from Vodacom, Altech and Altron has been put to good use for the restoration of a 1897 building that housed the then van Niekerk theatres and X-ray department from 1928 and now has become the new Shandukani facility.
The renewal was necessary for the convenience and the improvement of quality of life particularly for women and children around Hillbrow. Shandukani’s labour ward and maternal health facility will also double up as a training ground for health care providers, community workers and researchers. National health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Gauteng health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe have given the facility their blessings. Portia Maurice, Head of Innovation and Partnering at Vodacom, describes Shandukani as an example of Vodacom’s commitment to working with government and partners in technology to bring about a real source of positive change in South Africa.
“Shandukani is a flagship project in that it represents our support for community clinics, community health programmes and HIV/AIDS awareness in a truly integrated manner,” said Craig Venter, Chief Executive Officer of Altech. Shandukani, which means ‘change’ in Venda, represents a public and private partnership between the Gauteng Department of Health, Vodacom, Altron, Altech and Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI).
It’s one of the facilities housed within the Hillbrow Health Precinct (HHP) with among others the Hillbrow Community Health Centre that provides a fully functioning hospital service. The HHP is aimed at addressing HIV/Aids and related diseases, poverty and urban renewal in Johannesburg’s inner city.Lord knows Hillbrow is a side of Joburg’s face that could still do with more plastic surgery work, a good job done on its boobs, its bended limbs straightened and its brand polished. When such work has been done to the maximum, then life will be a bit more qualitative for its habitants.
- Health services at Shandukani are rendered for free and the facility is open twenty four seven, particularly for women and children, while antenatal services are only offered from 7am to 4pm. It is situated within the former hillbrow hospital premises on Klein Street.