The New Horizon and Pelican Park Neighbourhood Watch hosted its second annual HIV and Aids awareness, wellness and clinic day at the Pelican Park Community Centre on Wednesday 5 December.
Residents were able to have their vital health statistics checked while also learning more about HIV, Aids and family planning.
“As a neighbourhood watch we just put our heads together and just do what we can. Donation wise, we did it out of our own pockets, because our motto is to serve and uplift our community. It has been a lot of effort as well as help from Lotus River Community Day Centre (CDC) and Grassy Park Police Station and Community Policing Forum,” says Saadiqah Ganief, treasurer and project coordinator for New Horizon and Pelican Park Neighbourhood Watch.
Lotus River Community Day Clinic provided live demonstrations to residents on how to safeguard against most sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.
Rene Daniels, social worker at Lotus River CDC, says it is important for them to be able to take a range of services to a community still awaiting the completion of its own clinic.
“The people are psyched up and hyped up in terms of the pending opening of the new Pelican Park facility. This is the second time we are assisting the New Horizon and Pelican Park Neighbourhood Watch. I take my hat off for Saadiqah, because she is in the community. She is aware of people falling pregnant and not accessing family planning and it is freely available,” says Daniels.
Daniels adds she was impressed by the turnout and number of residents willing to take ownership of their own well-being. She encouraged other residents, in the lead-up to the opening of the Pelican Park Clinic, to familiarise themselves with the services which will be on offer to them once the centre opens by visiting the Lotus River facility in the meantime.
“At our facility in Lotus River, there are chronic services for any chronic patient, which are freely available. Have yourself screened and tested. Come to the facility in terms of getting your medication. Be compliant about it. Once again, it is free. Family planning – if you don’t want to be pregnant, make use of the family planning at Lotus River Day Hospital. Antenatal clinic – once you find out that you are pregnant, you are advised to book before 13 weeks to make use of the service. A sister will guide you in terms of what it means to be pregnant and what are the dangers to look out for,” she says.
As for social work, Daniels encourages residents to come forward with anything they feel unsure about.
“As professionals we want to help. I don’t want you to struggle with a disabled child and you can get a disability grant. Empowering yourself with what services are available and then accessing those services is important,” says Daniels.
Grassy Park police spokesperson Captain Wynita Kleinsmith says their role at the event was to also educate and spread awareness around the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.
“We also want to inform residents and make them aware that there must be no abuse against women and children, while also promoting other services to them so that they can know there are different types of domestic violence and then know where they can go to if they feel they are in an abusive relationship. We also provide safety tips for the upcoming festive season,” she says, adding that residents need to remain vigilant and get into contact with the police station or their sector commanders if they need any assistance.
Ganief says other community organisations have also come on board to spread awareness.
“Educate to eradicate. It is all about educating yourself about HIV and Aids as well as the stigma which goes with it. It is okay, because there’s help out there. We don’t need any more victimisation. Just to create awareness around the issues in the community. As the neighbourhood watch, we do this completely just for the love and support of our community, without any charge. It is just to serve and uplift, that is our motto,” she says.