johannesburg - There is a piece of land in Cosmo City on which Muzi Nkosi dreams of building a clinic. The sloped land is covered in dry thicket, and is littered with rubble and rubbish.
“This is because of the illegal dumping from construction companies. We’ve tried to clean it up and have even paved a part of it,” Nkosi said while looking over the littered land.
Cosmo City, a residential development north-west of Joburg, has no clinic.
Nkosi realised the dire need for a clinic when he was working as a pharmacist assistant at Helen Joseph Hospital.
“Patients would stay there till 7pm or 9pm waiting to get their medication.
“The queues were always too long,” he said.
So he did some research and realised he had to start a non-profit organisation (NPO) to make a difference.
That was in 2011.
He registered the NPO, Perfect Start Ministries, and has since managed to lease 2 hectares of land from the local municipality for R1 000 a month.
This amount will soon go up to R5 000, which Nkosi and the other 14 members of his NPO will have to pay from their own pockets.
Wonder Madhlala, who is also a member, is personally affected by the lack of healthcare in the area.
“I have to wake up early and take a taxi to Honeydew and then another to Helen Joseph.
“I get there at 7am and it costs about R50 a day,” said the unemployed Madhlala.
Madhlala has to fetch medication from the hospital twice a month, and said it sometimes takes three hours to get there.
“Having a clinic would be a big blessing because sometimes I don’t have food to take with me for the day and sometimes it’s so cold in the morning,” he said. “Muzi is a gift from God.”
Nkosi has lived in the area since 2009 and put his career on the back-burner to focus on his plans to bring a clinic to Cosmo City.
“There is a police station and schools, so why isn’t there a clinic?” asked Madhlala.
Things are beginning to look up. Nkosi has met representatives from the Gauteng Department of Health and the Department of Public Works, and they are currently discussing a solution.
There is a private clinic in the area, but most people cannot afford it.
One of them is Nokwanda, who wouldn’t give her surname, who had been waiting outside a mobile clinic for five hours when The Star spoke to her.
“My child has a fever and all we have is this little container. We've been burnt by the sun and still haven't been helped,” she said holding her 7-year-old son's hand.
“He's so tired. I wish there was a clinic nearby because we need it,” she said.
The mobile centre provides members of the community with a variety of eye, ear, blood, dental, and pre- and post-natal screenings and treatments but it a long walk from their homes.
“It's far and people take unsafe shortcuts to get there. Women get raped and people get robbed,” said Nkosi.
Aside from the mobile clinic, last year Samsung Electronics Africa opened a Solar Powered Health Centre next to Oasis Itsoseng Community Clinic in a separate part of Cosmo City.
Perfect Start Ministries has managed to get help from Vodacom, who have given them an SMS line that people can use to donate money. To help build the clinic, SMS the word Perfect to 48825 to donate R10.