National Epilepsy Day presented an opportunity to create awareness around the condition among heath workers and the community.
Facility manager Dorothy Hlongwane recalls how neurologists used to visit the clinic to conduct tests and prescribe medication with the clinic eventually establishing support groups.
Epilepsy SA community social worker Manini Maruwa says the main goal of the support groups is “to make patients aware that epilepsy is manageable and can be controlled, but also explaining to them that at the moment it cannot be cured.”
Patient Rachel Mabe (49), who lives near the Boekenhout Clinic says that since the establishment of the support group there has been huge relief.
“With 30 members we feel we are no longer being stigmatised and neglected and we also thankful to Epilepsy SA and clinic staff for their care and support,” says Mabe.
Lucas Nzima, also a member of the support group says that since joining the group he is able to share his experiences and members are able to assist one another “to no longer feel lonely when visiting the clinic for medication”.
Hlongwane says that the relationsip between the clinic and Epilepsy SA was critical.
“This has also strengthened our relationship with patients and we took the opportunity to raise awareness among the other neighbouring clinics with the possibility of benchmarking, peer reviewing and sharing best practice models when it comes to establishing support groups.”
Maruwa says the initiative would never have succeeded without the good collaboration between health promoters and clinic staff.
The meeting saw the audience being entertained by gospel singers by local artists and performance by the local drum majorette troupe.