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City takes to SlootFM to touch base with residents


The City of Johannesburg’s Region A has opened a new channel of communication with its residents.  In a significant development, the region has entered into a partnership with Sloot fm, a fast-growing community radio station serving Diepsloot and surrounding areas, to keep residents up to speed with a variety of municipal matters, including service delivery, infrastructure development and other programmes.
Every Wednesday between 10.30am and 11.30am the station will host senior Region A City officials to discuss a wide range of issues impacting on residents’ day-to-day lives.
The partnership, which will run until December this year, started on Wednesday August 31 when the radio station’s popular mid-morning presenter, Khethiwe Ntini, hosted the City’s health officials, including Regional Health Deputy Director Nelly Shongwe, to unpack a variety of health-related issues facing the community.
Region A comprises areas such as Midrand, Ivory Park, Diepsloot and Rabie Ridge as well as a total of 63 informal settlements.
Its population is estimated at 575 000. Of these residents, 80 351 live in Diepsloot alone.  During a live interview at Sloot fm’s studios just outside Diepsloot, Shongwe emphasised the importance of primary healthcare.
“We have 14 clinics, four of which are in Diepsloot. At these clinics we make sure our people are given a dignified service. At these healthcare facilities, we offer services such as reproductive health and family planning. We offer antiretroviral drugs to those living with HIV-Aids and conduct testing and counselling. We also look at chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and so on,” said Shongwe, a professional nurse.
She told listeners that the region did not have a hospital of its own, saying patients from its clinics needing critical medical attention were referred to Kalafong Hospital.  “OR Tambo is the biggest clinic in Extension 2. We’re working on a 24-hour emergency unit, which is not yet functional. Our key challenge is that we’re under-staffed. For instance, if you look at OR Tambo Clinic, it has eight nurses serving 6 000 to 7 000 patients a month. The pressure is huge. It has to be fully capacitated,” said Shongwe.
She said one of the challenges facing the region was the high rate of teenage pregnancy and substance abuse.  She said to this end, the region had intensified awareness campaigns, especially at school level. 
Regional Environmental Health Services Manager Jacque Scholtz spoke at length about environmental health challenges such as pollution, waste and illegal street trading.
On Wednesday next week the environmental health team will focus on paraffin safety.