Ghairunisa Johnstone, founder and director of Mustadafin foundation, says, “Our homebased care workers in Tafelsig and Delft are doing wonderful work in these gang, alcohol and drug infested areas. Most of the patients do not have the financial or emotional support to deal or cope with their ailments alone, which our workers have provided on a daily basis for the past 24 years.”
The streets of these areas are notorious for violence, making it a daunting task for the non-profit organisation's healthcare workers to assist the bedridden and weak. Health problems these carers tend to range from bedsores, amnesia, diabetes, psoriasis, infections, and gunshot wounds to name a few.
People without finances
Johnstone also mentions that there is an escalation of asthma in these areas due to asbestos used in buildings.
The Foundation initially focused on the prevention of HIV and Tuberculosis as well as feeding undernourished and malnourished children. Their assistance in Tafelsig and Delft has changed since 2008 when other ailments became priority, in particular cancer patients.
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One woman, based in Delft, has severe bedsores and suffers from amnesia. She was left comatose when her brother hit her over the head with a brick while under the influence of alcohol.
She woke up after two months, not remembering her life and dependent on expensive antibiotic ointments. Mustadafin Foundation assists her and her family by tending to her wounds and sores.
“Other patients in Delft suffer from diabetes, hypertension, kidney infections, arthritis and even anxiety disorders. Without finances, these people rely on clinics and public hospitals to tend to their ailments. Our homebased carers help them at their homes and they have become dependent on these services,” adds Johnstone.
Image: Seniors being treated by Mustadafin
In Tafelsig the situation is not better. One man was hijacked 20 years ago and shot in the face, causing lead poisoning.
He now suffers from severe psoriasis from head to toe, leaving him dependent on ointments and weekly injections. Due to his condition, he cannot work and lives off a grant.
Living in an area that is high in violence and other social problems makes the situation even worse. Many people feel that they don’t have relief or any distraction from what they are going through.
Grateful for care and support
“Families in these areas often struggle with relatives who have health issues,” says Johnstone. “One gentleman, born deaf and dumb, only has his sister and her children for support.
The sister became so stressed having to care for her brother and children that she became addicted to pain-killers and ended up in rehab. She later relapsed.”
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The people who Mustadafin Foundation’s healthcare workers tend to are very grateful for their care and support. They refer to each other as friends.
One gentleman said that he does not know where he would be if it weren’t for the care provided to him by the healthcare workers.
“The results have been good. Many of our stroke clients move on after receiving physiotherapy,” explains Johnstone. The Mustadafin Foundation appeals to residents in Cape Town to provide assistance in these areas where they can.
The Foundation requires medical volunteers, food and clothing hampers and financial sponsors.
Any comfort and assistance to be given to these patients will be greatly appreciated. Contact them on 021 633 0010 or visit their Mustadafin Foundation for further information.
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