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Maputsoe Wellness Centre needs shot in the arm

The Maputsoe or Ficksburg border gate

Sept. 16, 2020 2 min read

2 min read

MAPUTSOE – Despite efforts to ensure that communities living around the Maputsoe border gate get essential health services, the Maputsoe Wellness Centre still encounters challenges that forestall it from being fully functional.

According the centre’s Senior Nurse Thapelo Phomane, the facility offers services to key populations that include sex workers, men who have sex with other men (MSM), truck drivers and the community at large.

She said they currently provide essential health services to about 102 sex workers, 16 MSM and 56 active patients who are on PrEP and one lesbian.

Other services that they provide, she indicated include STI screening and treatment, tuberculosis screening and treatment, Prep and PEP, cervical cancer screening and social behaviour change and communication.  

They also provide outreach services, which are mainly conducted in areas where they easily find key populations like in taverns, social gatherings and hotels.

These outreach services according to Nurse Phomane are often offered during weekends, month-ends and on some busy Friday nights.

Although they work hard to reduce the HIV infection rate, she said there are several challenges that they encounter and the main one is lack of funds to continue activities.

The other challenge she said is the high defaulter rate because most of their clients who are on treatment are highly mobile and often go to South Africa.

“Some of them stay in South Africa for long periods of time and it is not easy to monitor them. Others just decide to default for reasons known only to them, as a result, this makes our work a little difficult,” she also said.

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Apart from that, she said there is also a need for more training, especially when they deal with sensitive populations like sex workers and men who sleep with other men.

When they want to conduct out-reach services, she said there is always shortage of transport and their facility is not well structured to provide all necessary services as there no consultation rooms, restrooms and waiting rooms.

The district Public Health Nurse ’Mamoferefere Zim said for the centre to function properly, it needs essential support to ensure that it offers all required services and meets all its clients’ needs.

The facility which opened its doors to clients in December 2016 was initially funded by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

It later received more funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) between January 2019 and March this year.

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