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BTech Nursing Management Programme offers a module that is project planning and development where students are engaged in helping the community.

The final year BTech Nursing Management students from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) engaged with the community on such a project at the Cato Manor Clinic.

These students were involved in revamping of the Cato Manor Clinic kitchen that is used to feed the youth of Cato Manor community on Fridays.

Explaining further on the project was Mrs Padmini Pillay, a lecturer in the Department of Post Graduate Nursing (DUT) who coordinates the BTech Nursing Management programme and also facilitates in the project planning and development module. (PRDV401).

“The requirements in this module is that the students engage with the community to identify a project. Various groups have done different projects in different communities, this project was done in Cato Manor where the students are expected to do a situational analysis of the area and assess what are the needs of that community, hence the Cato Manor Clinic kitchen project,” she said.

Pillay explained that Cato Manor is one of the oldest communities in Durban, and the youth-friendly clinic (AYFS) was launched on 03 June 2013.

“In 2019 the BTech Nursing Management students built a stage so that the youth could use the platform to showcase their performances. Students are encouraged to handover their projects to the next group so that there is sustainability. The 2019 students handed over their project to the students of 2021 as part of sustainability of the community project. At AYFS the staff cook nutritious meals in the kitchen. This was started because of the need of that community that is of a low socio-economic background and also to encourage the youth to participate in the regular Friday’s talent show, showcasing different talents,” she indicated.

She said that the community clinic offers the following facilities such as ARV, PMTCT, TB/DOTS, chronic care, and rehabilitation, mental health services for children and adults and counselling of teenage pregnancy.

“This community is situated near formal and informal houses with increased overcrowding with high unemployment rates and low socio-economic conditions with poverty being a major social issue. So, the objective of the project was to revamp the kitchen at the clinic for the Adolescent and Youth Friendly Services (AYFS) and to provide a suitable kitchen for all the staff that help in preparing meals for the youth,” she added.

Pillay said that of recent, the staff continue to provide meals daily because they have youth zones and focal groups that take place in the clinic AYFS daily, where the youth share and listen to health talks that directly talk to them in a safe, friendly and comfortable environment at the clinic.

“These youths also have an opportunity to showcase their talents hoping that theses talents will be recognised by people in the community and elsewhere. On a Friday afternoon the youth of Cato Manor enjoy a meal provided by the clinic and then the afternoon is spent showcasing their talents,” she conveyed.

Pillay added that the BTech Nursing Management students had arranged a meeting with the stakeholders of the clinic and the community and identified the need to revamp the kitchen so that meals can be prepared in a user-friendly kitchen for the staff.

Speaking of the challenges faced, especially with COVID-19, Pillay added that the length of the project was extended due to no face to face contact with stakeholders and there were limited access to meeting areas for group members and restriction of one person at a time at a given area.

She explained that in terms of the renovations, the tiles of the clinic were replaced, the kitchen cupboards completely redone, and the kitchen tap repositioned to make it easier to use.

“The students are also expected to source sponsors for their projects as there is no funding from the department or from DUT.

The material for the kitchen cupboards was sponsored as well as the labour and is estimated to cost around R8000,” she said.

The students who formed part of the project are Prabashnie Govender-RK Khan Hospital, Shamila Naidoo-St Augustine Hospital, Thabile Shange-District Municipality and Shivash Giasi-Addington Hospital. They are all professional nurses at the public and private hospitals and district municipalities providing healthcare services to all disciplines.

Prabashnie Govender, one of the students said that this project showed her the meaning of the word UBUNTU.

“It was a feeling of elation as a difference was made for the benefit of the community and youth. The joy on their faces was a remembrance to us that our youth is our future. The talent and poetry showcased were also beyond our imagination. The handing over the kitchen was a jubilant event for the clinic staff and youth, as this kitchen will provide for their healthy, cooked meals daily in a conducive environment. We were proud as a group to witness the difference made in our youth’s lives,” she said jubilantly.

Another proud student, Shange added that this project has taught her a lot, correlating the theoretical part with the practical aspects in project planning and development.

“It has been such a great experience, working with the community and their involvement to own the project through participation together with internal and external stakeholders. I really appreciate DUT for such an amazing programme. In context of the Cato Manor project, we the students wanted to make an impact on the lives of the youth of that community by showing our creativity in revamping the kitchen at this clinic. We displayed responsibility and accountability by completing this project with the sponsorship that was entrusted to us,” she stressed.

Pictured: Lecturer Padmini Pillay with Matron C Ndzeku, the assistant nurse manager at Cato Manor Clinic cutting the ribbon to the new kitchen.

Waheeda Peters

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