The Rehoboth Methodist Church has set up a welfare centre on its premises, where people with minor Covid-19 symptoms can be treated and get information on the correct way to treat their symptoms.
The church provided its manse as a venue for battle against Covid-19 to alleviate the pressure on the town’s medical facilities.
The initiative is in collaboration with a local medical practitioner, Dr Henny van Wyk, and his medical team. It has run for two weeks, offering a three-venue Covid treatment plan, identified as home care for those with minor symptoms, facilities care like the church premises for those who may need observation and hospitalisation for those who need oxygen.
Ordained Methodist minister Reverend Colin Gertze said this initiative came because the town has “experienced tremendous pressure” from people going to the hospital and hampering treatment for those whose conditions really need in-hospital care.
“If they can be treated at home, we provide them with a prescription of basic medicine and then they can stay at home and continue with treatment. If it is seen that the situation is maybe getting worse, as they have passed a period of six to 12 days without receiving treatment, we then send them through a facility like the one that we have set up now at the church, where they can come for the facility to receive treatment. Once they have received this treatment, they can go back home and continue with the medicine at home,” Gertze explained.
The Rehoboth-born clergyman thanked the community for their swift response and contributions of beds, linen and money towards the initiative.
The town has in recent weeks been hard-hit with a surge in positive cases and deaths.
According to the ministry of health’s 3 July Covid-19 statistics, Rehoboth recorded 48 new cases and no Covid-19-related deaths.
Rehoboth’s Covid-19 home response team project coordinator Gino van Wyk indicated the initiative is growing from a five-bedroom house with 16 beds.
“The team of Exhibition and Events Warehouse is busy with the Kaptein Hermanus Van Wyk Gedenksaal. We are trying to put in 20 to 30 beds there.”
He added that the medical team is currently not giving oxygen to patients at the wellness centres but only at the hospital. In addition, the team has acquired an oxygen tank from Afrox.
“They [Afrox] are going to install the tank by next week that would be able to assist the [St Mary’s Roman Catholic] hospital with 4.5 tonnes of oxygen,” Van Wyk added; the team is “trying to get some sort of a database” consisting of the infection rate to map out areas in the town that are affected the most.
Once people phone the helpline, a response team, made up of nurses, is allocated and they make an assessment while there and communicate with the doctor on how to treat the patients.
Speaking on her first-hand experience, registered nurse Ann Rittman said she takes vital signs to see whether the person is seriously ill or they are just in need of home care.
“I help them [patients] by giving them advice and most of the time, I phone Dr Van Wyk to help. I ask him for advice and he prescribes medication that we collect from the pharmacy and administer to the patient,” she said.
She added we are facing a “serious situation” and there is a need for a change in behaviour.
She further urged people to follow government regulations and guidelines.
“It is serious. We have to take proper precautions. So we do not need to fear. Fear can kill. Fear is a killer.”