Health and Wellness Programme
This year has started off well. The workshops have taken off and in the last quarter, over 100 people were reached through our wellness workshops, follow up sessions and health awareness days. We have placed a special focus on establishing and maintaining good relationships with key stakeholders such as PHM-SA, the Department of Health’s Working on Wellness (WOW) and The City of Cape Town’s M-Sat teams. We are also strongthing partnerships through joint implementation of work done with MSF-SA and Kuyasa clinic, TB/HIV Care, TAC and Philani over this period.
In the last quarter, 4 groups completed the Wellness Workshop series – our tailored health education sessions. We also facilitated 2 follow up groups, where we focus more on other issues faced by the group members. Much of our time was spent on the workshop cycle and recruitment of Community Club members from Kuyasa clinic. We also held two group sessions for our new ARV adherence group that we are running in partnership with MSF-SA (Doctors without Borders South Africa). Working so closely with the clinic has taken our team out of their comfort zone – we have had to learn how to navigate different systems at the clinic. Our focus has been on forming good relationships with the clinic staff at all levels – making connections and showing support to the staff so we can find ways to work together. We are proud of the team for the amount of time and hard work they have put into establishing the Kuyasa Community Clubs.
The workshops in this last quarter have gone smoothly. What stood out from this cycle was the openness and willingness of people in the groups to share their experiences and offer support to one another. Some of the stories that people shared were difficult – disclosing their HIV status for the first time to the group and sharing their story without fear of being stigmatised, knowing that the workshop spaces are places where they can get comfort and support. These sessions explored how to deal with different issues and the space that was created offered the chance to build strong relationships in the group. As part of the training cycle, we also ran a learning exchange group with three organisations who also do health education work – Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Philani and TB/HIV Care. The facilitators shared information and facilitation tips with each other to ensure that we are all sharing the same information and can learn from each other’s experiences.
Feedback from participants shows how they use the information that they gain from the workshops…
“I have learnt that HIV is not a death sentence, if you take your medication properly, protect yourselves through using condoms and eating well, you can live a long life”
“I want to use this information in my community, especially with the older people – the information about Diabetes and high blood pressure”.
“I attended the Wellness workshops and learned a lot of about health and about other things. I learnt how to work with people. I also learned information that I can share with others so that they can live long and healthy lives. Since the workshop, we had a wellness session and invited all the old people in our area. We cooked nice veggies for them and told them about how to eat to stay healthy.”
The team is looking forward to starting their new Community Champions programme. The recruitment for the new community champions has started – so watch this space! The wellness team has also been working on an exciting and much awaited healthy recipe book for soup kitchens. This initiative is being done in partnership with the Department of Health, Western Cape on Wellness (WOW) initiative. We are also working closely with PHM-SA in the lead up to the South African People’s Health University, the People’s Health Assembly. Our most exciting engagement is taking the Mamelani facilitators, along with selected active grandmothers to Durban in the lead up to the International Aids Conference. The Stephen Lewis Foundation has arranged a Grandmothers Gathering as part of the process highlighting the incredible work that grandmothers do in the fight against HIV. We were very excited to be invited to be part of this exciting event!