In Melkhoutfontein, where Dreamcatcher South Africa’s Home Office is located, there is limited healthcare available to support the community on a 24 hour – 7 day a week basis. There is a clinic which was opened in 2011 which operates 3 days a week: Monday, Tuesdays and Friday 7:30am to 4pm. A medical doctor visits Mondays and Tuesdays from 10am to around 1pm when prescriptions are also issued. The clinic handles general medical conditions, pre- and post-natal, babies and HIV/Aids patients. A dental clinic functions once a month on a Friday. Due to the increasing population, there are often long queues from early in the morning.
The nearest State hospital is in Riversdale – over 45 km away and there is no local ambulance service available in the community. There is an ambulance company functional in Stilbaai, the resort town 7 km away – the costs to transfer patients from Melkhoutfontein to the hospital is borne by the individuals who are transferred who need to pay upfront. Approximately 20% of Melkhoutfontein residents have a driver’s license with most of them using their vehicle for work thus unavailable from 7am to 6pm.
To address the shortfall, Rose, a wonderful Dreamcatcher Kamamma, decided to supplement this service. After undergoing training via the local authority, Rose opened ‘Villa Rosa’ clinic providing round the clock support to the Melkhoutfontein community. This included monitoring blood pressure, checking for diabetes, handling wounds, providing nutrition, and even supporting birthing. During this time Dreamcatcher supported Rose through volunteers, resources and medical supplies. Pictured top left is Rose receiving a donation of a medical emergency grab bag from Dr Jowan Reigersman-Reijniers who was visiting the community with Dutch radio and television legend Sonja van Proosdij as guests of Dreamcatcher South Africa.
Sadly, Rose passed away – and despite her wishes for the clinic to remain open – the building was not made available to Dreamcatcher by Hessequa Municipality to continue the first aid response service. To continue Rose’s legacy and to address the needs of the community and visitors, Dreamcatcher has facilitated the development of a First Aid Responder Team who offer emergency health support to the community (and at times also requested in the greater Stilbaai, and for Melkhoutfontein sports events). First Aid Responders have been trained on a Nationally Accredited course which includes theory and practical to enable response to medical emergencies by the Tilana at Silver Link based in Stilbaai. Moreover Dreamcatcher board member Andelene is a retired nurse who provide mentoring and support to the team.
The First Aid Responder team are available 24/7 to offer first aid support where needed – and also to assist international visitors in the community. During the Covid Pandemic they provided invaluable support to the community. Some of the First Aid Responders who were trained before the pandemic have gone onto work in the healthcare sector. Over the years we have had many health professionals and volunteers aspiring to work in the sector join our team when in the community.