Buffalo Flats, South Africa
The Samaritan Care Centre is a hospice for the terminally ill, predominately those infected with HIV/AIDS. It is located in Buffalo Flats, just outside the city center of East London, which is one of the larger cities in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The Eastern Cape is known to be one of the poorest areas of South Africa. Unemployment is critically high, education is poor, and there are many social issues that need to be addressed. East London's population is approximately 750,000 including surrounding villages and townships.
During the past year the Samaritan Care Centre has begun to make use of the internet is order to improve communication. Administration of the Centre has become easier because of the time saved getting in touch with suppliers, as well as health and other organizations. The Centre also added TV service enabling patients to watch TV. They especially enjoy watching the Christian Channel. Education in schools and the community on HIV/AIDS continues to be a priority of the Centre, helping to make people aware of the dangers of HIV/AIDS and TB.
Samaritan shares a story about a student, Chumani, who was very passionate and helpful and decided to stay on at the Centre as a volunteer. Chumani was very good with patients and the staff members adored him because of his hard work. Chumani decided to pursue a career in health services. As a volunteer at Samaritan Care Centre he volunteered after school and on weekends. When he finished his education, Samaritan Care Centre was very sorry to see him leave. They are, however, extremely proud that he now is working in the health department. He also does not forget where he started and visits the Centre from time to time and telling everyone how proud he is to have worked at Samaritan Care Centre.
Samaritan Care Centre continues their work but is being challenged by the downturn in the economy. Goods and services are high and it becomes difficult for them to maintain the building, their vehicle that transports patients, and to pay their staff. Their plans for the future include:
- A shade for patients when they are sitting outside.
- Separate wards for patients living with HIV/AIDS and TB.
- Pediatric wards – children in the community are being neglected and abused and have no hospice or care centers to go to.
Read more about the Samaritan Care Centre