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Christmas came early for residents of the informal settlements of Emaxhoseni, Kwa Madondo and Kwa MaiMai in the Joburg CBD when they were given food packs, free medical check-ups and had medical practitioners calling at their homes.

The Rotary Family Health Day was in full swing at the 80 Albert Street Clinic, bringing retired professionals, volunteers and the City’s health promoters to the neighbourhood. For three days, (3rd – 5th October) Rotary Club members in their typical white beeps could be seen knocking from door to door, accompanied by city officials, bearing gifts.

The mood was festive as patients, residents and passersby danced to the music blaring from the speakers, even as they had their health checked.

Many were encouraged by the relaxed atmosphere to walk in and be tested for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol and HIV. Women could also do papsmear and men could be tested for prostrate cancer.

On the day, tests were also conducted for Hepatitis B. The initiative was supported by Gift of the Givers, the Bethesda NPO, HIV SA, Ward Based Outreach Teams (WBOT), Department of Health Provincial and Wits Reproductive Health Institute (WRHI).

Nhlanhla Magwaza Operational Manager of Health Promotion in Region F said the city supports rotarians by identifying and accessing communities with the most dire needs and working with them to promote health education.

“Rotaries assist us to reach out to unreachable communities. We were able to identify vulnerable families, including a mentally ill patient staying alone, an HIV positive patient who was very sick and had no food and an 11 year old boy with sores all over his body. We also managed to link the patients with a social worker who was present on the day.”

The Rotary Club is an international organisation committed to identifying and uplifting under privileged communities. Paul Kasango a coordinator from the Rotary Club said the club used the three days to create awareness and identify community needs.

“Through Rotary Clubs people from all continents and cultures have come together to exchange ideas and form friendships and professional connections while making a difference in their backyards and around the world for more than 110 years. Rotary links 1.2 million members to form an organisation of international scope. It started with the vision of one man Paul Harris. It was formed on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas form meaningful lifelong friendships and give back to their communities.”