IMPORTANT NEWS TO ALL STAKEHOLDERS
AN END TO AN ERA OF COMPASSIONATE SERVICE DELIVERY AND EXTRAORDINARY SUCCESSES
An open letter from Dr Hugo Tempelman, who opened the Maternity Unit and the Palliative Care Unit in 1998 and started the PMTCT-Program in 2003
Dear Donors and all people who carry Ndlovu Care Group a warm heart.
It is with regret but in good spirit that we would like to inform you that the Maternity 24-hour unit at Ndlovu Medical Centre in Elandsdoorn is going to close.
We have been informed by the Department of Health that our 24-hour unit does not qualify for renewal of the Private Hospital Licence to operate on a 24 hour basis, unless we make major investments to upgrade. It has never been the intention to be a Private Hospital but rendering 24-hour services brings us in that category. We are assessed the same as the big for profit Netcare, MediClinic or Life Science Hospital chains.
At the same time Ndlovu Care Group’s Executive Management has been realistic and reviewed the functionality of the unit if we would justify such investment.
When we started in 1998 the maternity services in Moutse, Ndlovu Medical Centre was the only medical service provider for the total population of 120.000 inhabitants. Over the years the Department of Health has improved its footprint in our area and two new clinics, which both provide maternity services, Marapong and Ntwane have been established. As a result we have seen our delivery numbers declining over the last five years from approximately 500 per year to 183 in 2015.
With respect to our unique PMTCT program, with a result of less than 1% HIV transmission from mother to child since its inception in 2003, we can also report that we have reached our aim as at this moment the Ndlovu PMTCT protocol is National Department of Health protocol and all clinics in South Africa have a very low HIV transmission from mother to child at this stage. Ndlovu Care Group has always disseminated its results to the National Committee on PMTCT and as such contributed to this improved National Protocol. We have reached our aim.
The Executive Committee of NCG (EXCO) also realised that maternity services in a changing environment from a medical liability point of view is becoming a major risk to the whole organisation. NCG has twice been summoned for a court case and in both cases the litigation case has been defused before it started although it formed a major threat for the whole organisation. These medical liability cases also bring with it that NCG needs to insure the medical doctors with an extended Medical Protection. The extra premium is approx. R 130.000 per annum per doctor and we have three doctors performing deliveries in the 24-hour unit. If we divide that extra cost per delivery (approx. 180 per annum) than only for insurance a delivery costs NCG over R 2000 while the patients’ contribution is only R 400.
All in all we have decided not to fight the decision of the Hospital Licence but to adhere to it and close down. Ndlovu Care Group will look after its employees and a plan that accommodates all parties as good as possible have been negotiated; as many internal posts will be filled with our 24-hour unit employees. New programs like the Disability Rehabilitation program will also make internal advertisements and fill posts from within.
On Wednesday 13 April the EXCO met with the Board of Trustees of NCG and after lengthy discussion consensus was reached to close the 24 –hour unit with immediate effect as stipulated in the letter of the Department of Health.
An extensive consultation with all relevant stakeholders; employees, community, political leaders and political parties, traditional leaders, religious groups and the Department of Health, has taken place over the last few days to inform them about the reasoning behind our decision and all were supportive to our resolution.
Ndlovu Care Group and all its patients, the few thousand children born in Colombine Maternity Unit without being infected with HIV, the NCG staff, EXCO and myself would like to thank you all gratefully for the support, the funding, the warm heart you have shown in our efforts to fill the service delivery gap that existed in our area.
As an NGO we filled the delivery gap until Government was positioned to take over, that is the function an NGO should fulfil.
With pride we can say, we served and handed over without a second of thought that the services will be rendered without interruption to our community.
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Ndlovu Care Group was founded in 1994 as a medical facility. Ndlovu Care Group is registered as Ndlovu Medical Trust which was established in 1999. Ndlovu Medical Trust is a registered NGO (registered in 2002) and Public Benefit Organisation.
Our vision is to provide opportunities and hope with innovative Healthcare, Childcare and Community Development developed by means of comprehensive Research.
The mission of Ndlovu Care Group is to advance the rural communities that we are active in with
through a uniquely researched and evidence based developed model that is aligned with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the National Strategic Plan for South Africa (NSP).
Ndlovu Care Group has its head offices in Groblersdal and is operational in two sites: the first is 30km from Groblersdal in Elandsdoorn in the Moutse Valley, serving a community of 100 000 people. The second is Bhubezi in the Bushbuckridge catchment area, Mpumalanga, serving a community of around 120 000 people.
All, but the professional staff, are recruited from the communities and receive in-service training.
Comprehensive Child Care Programs include 4 Nutritional Units, 3 Pre-Schools, Child care courses for child care takers, care of children living in child headed households. Ndlovu has built 21 houses for children living in child headed households and has upgraded numerous homes for such children. We encourage youth and children to attend after-school classes to overcome the barriers that matric failure set at an after-school centre, the Chill Hub. The Chill Hub has classrooms, a library, TV rooms, a social worker, life-skills facilitators, a career advisor and the Ndlovu IT Training Centre with internet café.
In an attempt to develop and nurture talent amongst the youth and children, Ndlovu Care Group established the Ndlovu Youth Choir. The Choir has paved the way to successes for all its members through discipline, endurance and the development of self-esteem. The Choir has a track record of no school drop-outs and a minimal amount of teen-age pregnancies contributing towards their scholastic achievements: they are role models for the youth in our area. The Ndlovu Youth Choir's popularity is such, that they have been invited to perform not only in prestigious venues in South Africa, but also abroad.
The Ndlovu Community Health Care programs offer integrated PHC/TB/HIV/AIDS, Maternal and Reproductive Health and Palliative Care. Additional services offered include cervical screening, PMTCT, on-site labs, X-Ray facilities and pharmacies and preventative counseling. An Audiology Program was launched in 2014 and serves the Moutse Community, with new-born hearing screening, school screenings, diagnostic tests and ototoxicity screening. Outreach services widen the spectrum and footprint of Ndlovu to farms and other clinics.
As part of the Community Development Programs in an underserved community, Ndlovu has a waste collection and disposal service with six dumping sites from which around 600kg of waste is removed three times per week. Additionally, Ndlovu has erected 43 boreholes strategically positioned, with clean running water. Disabled friendly sports facilities, including a gym are open to the public. A amphitheater, the Miracle Theatre is open to the public, and have hosted international performing artists and offers multiple SASSA services to the community. Ndlovu additionally offers dental services to the community’s learners, including screenings, dental cleanings and minor treatments with a roving dental truck.
All programs planned at Ndlovu are evidence based and with years of research, Ndlovu has established itself as the ideal Research Programs partner. The Ndlovu Research Consortium is a collaboration between Ndlovu Care Group, Utrecht University (NL), and the University of Witwatersrand (RSA) to research the medical and social aspects of HIV and treatment outcomes in a rural setting such as Elandsdoorn, Moutse.
The Ndlovu Research Consortium has four major disciplines: 1. program evaluation, 2. academic research in all its aspects, 3.product development, 4.contribution towards policy development and guideline improvement, nationally and internationally.