UKZN Health Sciences Community Assists Xenophobia Victims
UKZN medical students and staff teamed up with representatives of the South African Medical Association (SAMA), the Islamic Medical Association and Doctors, to assist victims of the xenophobia violence at emergency camps in Phoenix near Durban.
The team, led by UKZN’s Family Medicine Specialist and KZN SAMA Chair, Dr Mergan Naidoo, donated blankets, clothes and food.
Naidoo said: ‘Initially, we planned to provide medical assistance but couldn’t due to the lack of infrastructure. The camp was fairly new having only been established the previous day and there were no facilities to provide medical screening and care. However, additional medical help arrived in the form of members of SAMA, local doctors and folk from the Islamic Medical Association who erected a medical tent.’
The UKZN team also helped to prepare meals for about 3000 people. Naidoo said this was efficiently done and everybody was fed within an hour.
‘Well done to all involved who found the experience enlightening and enjoyable. Now that the medical tent has been set up, any Doctor/ senior medical student wanting to volunteer their services can contact the Medical Student Representative Council offices on 031-2604300 or the local SAMA Branch at 80 Helen Joseph Road in Glenwood. We encourage all to assist as there is a need for volunteers at the site.’
Doctors treated scores of patients at the Phoenix camps and also in Isipingo. Investec provided water bottles, plastic buckets and paid for pharmaceuticals while SAMA provided 100 water bottles.
There is still a great need for food, clothes and basic commodities, and request everyone able to donate these goods to direct them at the MSRC or SAMA offices.
Dean and Head of School of Nursing and Public Health, Professor Busi Ncama, thanked Dr Naidoo and SAMA for the initiative. ‘I think we should extend the call beyond our College. Universities like ours which are critically engaged with society and have so many international students cannot remain on the side lines.’
The University community has been asked to donate non-perishable food, water bottles and 25-litre plastic buckets which may be delivered to the MSRC offices at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine or the SAMA office at 80 Helen Joseph Road, Glenwood (opposite the Davenport centre).