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UWC undertakes social responsiveness initiative through health and wellness days

The university’s “Health and Wellness Day” commenced on Wednesday at the Community Health Sciences Bellville Campus. Picture: Supplied

The university’s “Health and Wellness Day” commenced on Wednesday at the Community Health Sciences Bellville Campus. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 4, 2022

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Cape Town - Bringing several faculties together, UWC has embarked on a community outreach initiative focusing on health and wellness in Bellville and Fisantekraal (Durbanville).

The university’s “Health and Wellness Day” commenced on Wednesday at the Community Health Sciences Bellville Campus, and will continue at the Fisantekraal Multi-Purpose Community Centre today.

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The initiative will provide health screenings, wellness talks, therapeutic, dental and legal counselling services. Members of the public were also invited to participate in a Futsal 5-a-side tournament and a Wellness Walk.

CHS Deputy Dean for Clinical and Community Engagement, Professor Firdouza Waggie, said this is the second year the initiative is taking place in the Bellville CBD and a third year in Fisantekraal. The programme is an annual initiative.

The outreach services are pioneered by the team in inter-professional Education Unit (IPEU) under the guidance of Waggie, and in partnership with the Faculty of Law, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Dentistry.

“There’s a number of reasons why we at UWC are doing outreach programmes. The one of course is to provide students with the learning experience that they will then be able to work closer with communities and also work with other students, meaning that it is inter-professional. The patients will be getting a holistic service from all the different departments,” Waggie said.

“We also base the whole outreach programme on a service learning model meaning that our university students will benefit from the programme as well as the community and through the interaction, that's when the students are also learning from the community and also what the main issues and challenges are, and also they are also able to then practice their skills.”

Around 150 students involved in the programme will be supervised throughout by their lecturers and to gain input from them.

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“Access to health care is a huge issue for many marginalised communities and this is our way at UWC to bring health to the people, to make health accessible to the people,” Waggie said.

UWC Law Clinic student Savannah Reynolds said collaborations such as these were important as the community was not aware of these services.

“A lot of the people who came out from the community are not very aware of the law and how they can apply it so they are not properly protected in terms of the law.”

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The Law Clinic was able to provide legal aid to approximately 10 people on the day alone.

Danneberg Optometrists operations manager Wendy Abrahams said they were able to see around 100 people.

Services were offered at no fee, with several referrals made. Abrahams said the most persistent issue had been the need for spectacles.

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