Pretoria West Community Care Forum

NEW-LOGO“You matter because you are you.
You matter to the last moment of your life,
and we will do all we can,                                       not only to help you die peacefully
but also to live until you die.”

Dame Cicely Saunders - Founder of the modern hospice movement

Western Pretoria in the Greater Tshwane Metropolitan District is a low socio-economic area with a population of 214 967, which is 10% of the total population of Tshwane. The community consists of 70% White, 26% Black and 4% Coloured/Indian residents.

The unemployment rate has increased by 74% from 1998 to 2002 and is currently estimated at 39,72%. 9-20% of the households have no income at all. There are 77 squatter camps in the area where 131 000 people live in old wooden huts, broken caravans, squatter huts and other makeshift housing. Poverty has increased by 150% from 1994 to 2005.

Smoking, alcohol and drug abuse is common in the area. No specific statistics for Western Pretoria is available, but for the Greater Tshwane Metropolitan Health District, the HIV/AIDS prevalence is 15,32 % and the cancer prevalence is 9.44%. Estimated cancer prevalence in the Pretoria West area alone is 33.35%. Patients visit the Tshwane District Hospital, Kalafong Hospital or the Steve Biko Academic Hospital for treatment. Transport for the ill is inadequate and this forces patients to walk to health care facilities.

There is a substantial need for day-care and home-based care services as the Tshwane Health Home Based Carers visit only 0.2% of patients in need. There are 29 old age homes, 15 welfare homes, 2 municipal clinics and 1 development (HPCA affiliated member) hospice in the area.

From 2005 to 2010, 144 patients were referred to Sungardens Hospice Pretoria, of whom 130 died and 14 are still being cared for. More than 90% of these patients had cancer and less than 10% suffered from HIV/AIDS. This is unfortunately only a drop in the ocean considering the actual numbers of people living with life-threatening disease. Many people suffering from life-threatening disease are not receiving palliative care and are dying painfully and without dignity.

The Pretoria West Community Care Forum was initiated by Sungardens Hospice Pretoria in response to an initiative from (HPCA) Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa to promote and provide “Quality Palliative Care for All”. Potential networking partners were invited to a successful workshop on 31 March 2010 where the Sustainable Palliative Care through Strategic Partnerships (SPCSP) project was introduced to attendees. The outcome of this workshop was that several organisations working in the Pretoria West area were keen to become networking partners of Sungardens Hospice Pretoria and to form a palliative care forum to promote and enhance quality palliative care for all in the area.

The first forum meeting was held on 5 May 2010. It was decided and agreed that Sungardens Hospice Pretoria would be steering the forum to develop a palliative care strategy, which is based on what organisations can offer towards palliative care. This palliative care strategy would be presented individually to all parties concerned to obtain their approval and endorsement and would constitute a formal memorandum of agreement between members of the forum. It was agreed that all the member organisations of the forum will be responsible to ensure that this strategy is implemented in the Pretoria West area.