Promoting Community Health
Fourth-year Occupational Therapy students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal are running a health promotion project at the Mariannridge Clinic to help community members increase their knowledge on health topics.
The project - which has been running since 4 September - was incepted after the students saw a gap in health promotion in the community. The project will continue until the end of the students’ fieldwork block on 18 October 2018.
The group, made up of Mrs Hawa Khan, Ms Jessica James, Ms Mandisa Khanyase, Ms Mendy Hlongwane and Ms Naledi Ngubane, decided to run the project through which clinic visitors waiting to be assisted are educated about important health topics.
The health promotion project seeks to increase health and wellness knowledge in the Mariannridge community through education on relevant topics affecting its members such as mental health, diabetes, the importance of a healthy lifestyle, development of children through play as well as the negative effects of drug and alcohol addiction.
One topic is presented to the clinic service users a day by one of the Occupational Therapy students with the aim of educating the community to make healthier life choices. ‘The community members respond really well to the topic, with some residents coming up to us afterwards with further questions or assistance,’ said Hlongwane, Occupational Therapy student.
With 27October 2018 being World Occupational Therapy Day, the Occupational Therapy Discipline will educate people about the work of Occupational Therapists. To coincide with this day, the Occupational Therapy students at Mariannridge have added Occupational Therapy as a topic on their health promotion project.
Khan said, ‘One of the roles of Occupational Therapy is to promote independence in everyday life, so creating awareness is crucial to understanding health.’
The Occupational Therapy students are confident that their health promotion project will have a positive effect on the healthy life choices of Mariannridge community.
Words: Jessica James
Photograph: Mendy Hlongwane