Minister Visits Award-winning Team at George Hospital's Renal Unit
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, visited the renal unit at George Hospital on 5 August 2013 to personally congratulate the staff that have been acknowledged by Rotary in South Africa with their highest award – the Paul Harris award.
The George Rotary Club recently recognised Dr Marinda Smit and her complement of nurses in the renal unit for the unstinting work they do, assisting the doctors and supporting the patients.
George Rotary Club President, Donald Goldfain, recognised nursing staff, represented by sisters Maureen Ruiters and Maria Petersen, and Dr Marinda Smit, a part-time appointee who manages a small complement of specially trained nursing sisters within the unit.
George Hospital Renal Unit is the only state-run renal unit between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The dedication and expertise of the people manning the dialysis machines keep the patients in good health until they are able to receive a donor kidney. It is hard work, emotionally draining, requires special inner strength, kindness and a passion for their calling.
Dr Smit is responsible for the actual hemodialysis procedures done on patients. Hemodialysis patients receive three four-hour treatments per week. The peritoneal dialysis has to be supervised and all patients on the programme need regular medical checkups. On average, these consultations amount to 70 per month.
Dr Smit is also responsible for the care of the 36 patients that have had kidney transplants and reside in the Eden District. Dr Smit provides the medical input for these patients. All patients on the kidney programme require monthly medical follow-ups.
In Eden, at present, there are 37 patients on the waiting list for kidney transplants. George Hospital has successfully organised 23 kidney transplants in the last seven years.
The renal unit at George Hospital dialise six patients at a time. At the moment 16 patients are on hemo-dialysis. The hospital has contracts with private dialysis units to assist when there are too many patients. In addition, the unit cares for 23 patients who receive peritonial dialysis (dialise themselves).
The George Rotary Club awarded Dr Smit with a Paul Harris award for her services to the group of renal patients in the George community. This Rotary award is made to outstanding men and women who live up to the Rotary motto of "Service Above Self" within their communities. Dr Smit now joins the ranks of other Rotary awardees such as Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk, Raymond Ackerman, Ester Watson and Nicole Rimbault to name a few.
Paul Harris Award
Paul Harris was a Chicago, Illinois, attorney who founded Rotary International in 1905. A Paul Harris award is a Rotary International award in which Rotary recognises individuals for making a substantial and tangible contribution towards the betterment of the community. In South Africa a Paul Harris award is Rotary’s highest award.
The award is one of the highest accolades Rotary can bestow on a person and accompanies a donation of $1 000 or more by the sponsoring club, in the recipient's name, to Rotary International's Annual Programme Fund, which supports Rotary's worldwide programmes.