Mbombo: We mustn’t assume people drink because they’re poor

The health MEC conducted an unannounced visit to the Heideveld Day Clinic to review the progress of a substance abuse programme.

The Heideveld Day Clinic. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo says she's impressed with the progress of a new programme at the Heideveld Day Clinic aimed at curbing substance abuse.

Mbombo conducted an unannounced visit to the clinic on Tuesday to check on the Teachable Moments programme.

The program, in its pilot phase in the Western Cape, has seen hundreds of emergency centre patients receive help for dealing with drug and alcohol abuse.

Patients who come through the emergency centre with substance abuse-related injuries are given the opportunity to speak to trained counsellors before heading home.

Mbombo says, “We thought, let’s create that environment where we can have a one-on-one with these patients. We mustn’t just assume that people are drinking because they’re poor or whatever.”

Emergency centre head Sister Madenia Hoosain says they have seen tangible proof of the programme's success.

“There was one patient last week who said thank you to the counsellors, because he almost lost his job, and now because he’s got proof that he’s getting counselling the boss said ‘Oh but it’s fine. I was going to retrench you, but I’ll give you another chance.’”

By the end of November 735 people had already been screened.

(Edited by Neo Koza)