Mamelodi Campus provides an indispensible service to the community
The University’s Mamelodi Campus has been developed as the hub of UP’s community engagement activities. Many of the University’s faculties present programmes on this campus to uplift this community, which comprises several informal settlements and has a high unemployment rate, high illiteracy level, high crime rate and many children who suffer the effects of HIV and AIDS.
The University’s assistance to the Mamelodi community has always been extensive and includes a law clinic, a psychological clinic, and a small business and entrepreneurship clinic. This support is now being expanded with the launch of two new initiatives: an animal health clinic and an occupational therapy clinic, which will benefit both students and members of the surrounding community.
Animal Health Clinic
The Mamelodi Animal Health Clinic (MAHC) is an initiative that was conceived a couple of years ago by Prof Gerry Swan, dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, and Mr Edwin Smith, director of the University’s Mamelodi Campus.
The conversion of an existing site into a functional animal health clinic required much planning and assistance from contractors based at Mamelodi, as well as staff of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Animal Hospital (OVAH). The MAHC comprises two consulting rooms, a small lab area, a general procedure room, a theatre, a change area, toilets and a small kitchen. A large room nearby serves as a day ward.
The clinic opened its doors to the public on 7 February this year and is headed by Dr Cherri Liebenberg of the OVAH, who is accompanied by a veterinary student and an animal caretaker from the OVAH. Veterinary students rotate at the MAHC during the outpatients’ session of their clinical year. The clinic currently operates from 09:00 to 14:30 on weekdays to give the team time to drive back and forth between Onderstepoort and Mamelodi.
The aim of the clinic is to supply Mamelodi residents with basic veterinary health care services for their companion animals. These include vaccinations, deworming, sterilisation, endo- and ectoparasite control and the treatment of common diseases. Minor procedures that require a general anaesthetic are also performed, but animals are not hospitalised overnight, as there is currently no supervision available.
The new Animal Health Clinic. UP's OVAH team hard at work.
Occupational Therapy Clinic
The Mamelodi Occupational Therapy Clinic for Children was launched on the Mamelodi Campus by the University’s Department of Occupational Therapy in the Faculty of Health Sciences. It was officially opened on 18 February this year. This was also Healthy Lifestyle Awareness Day and the theme for the day was Playful children are happy children.
The aim of this clinic is to raise awareness of the health of children with disabilities. It will provide services to paediatric patients of all ages and will be a site for occupational therapy students to benefit from the learning opportunities that are provided. The service rendered by the students and lecturers is free of charge.
The first patient visited the clinic on 21 February, and a referral system has been put in place with the educational psychologist on the Mamelodi Campus. Ms Lené Wessels, a lecturer in the Department of Occupational Therapy, is confident that the clinic will make a difference in the lives of hundreds of children in Mamelodi.