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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital gets R3m upgrade

30 October 2018

The new Occupational Therapy and sports facilities at Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital have been officially opened by the Industrial
Development Corporation (IDC) in partnership with the S.A Medical and Education Foundation (SAME) and the Gauteng Department of Health.
The project, unveiled in October to mark Mental Health Awareness Month, was earmarked as a Nelson Mandela Centenary Legacy Project by
the IDC, and was launched on Mandela Day 2018. Since the launch, the hospital has received complete upgrades and furnishings of its Occupational Therapy library and media centre, restaurant, kitchen, and tuckshop. A new multi-purpose sports facility was also established, with a new soccer field, athletics track, tennis and netball court, clubhouse, change rooms and ablution
facilities.

“The reality of mental healthcare in South Africa is that it’s often overlooked. The prevailing stigma around mental illness, the fact
that infectious and non-communicable diseases are at the fore putting immense pressure on public facilities that often run at overcapacity, as well as the expansion of primary healthcare services to rural areas all take priority over mental healthcare.” Says Tyrone Pols of SAME.
Speaking about the importance of investing in mental healthcare, Pols says: “In the wake of the Life Esidimeni tragedy, the importance of having a strategic focus on improving healthcare services to vulnerable groups such as the mentally ill cannot be underestimated. At the hearings of the South African Human Rights Commission, it was stated that mortality rates of people will mental illness are 2.5 times higher than that of
the general population. This shows the immense need for specialised facilities such as Sterkfontein Hospital.”

he hospital serves as a referral centre for most central, regional and district hospitals in southern Gauteng and parts of the North-West
province. The new facilities are extremely important to the treatment and rehabilitation of hundreds of patients. The hospital is also a training
institute for Wits University, University of Johannesburg, North West University, University of Pretoria, Ann Latsky and Chris Hani Baragwanath
Nursing Colleges.

Source: Same Foundations

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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