Minister Dr Nomafrench Mbombo’s visit to Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre
On Monday, 3 October 2022, Minister Nomafrench Mbombo and statutory bodies in the Mitchells’ Plain area visited the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre (WCRC).
The WCRC provides specialised, high-intensity rehabilitation and community-reintegration programmes for persons with physical disabilities. The focus is outcome-based and the promotion of functional independence. The facility has a maximum capacity of 156 beds, a daily Outpatient Department. The Orthotics and Prosthetics Centre is a satellite facility to WCRC. The rehabilitation programmes focus on reducing activity limitations and participation restrictions for persons with (amongst others):
- stroke / head injuries
- spinal cord afflictions both interpersonal violence and motor vehicle accident etc.
The hospital is a specialised referal hospital providing rehabilitative care to both public and private patients meeting the admission criteria. There are also outreach programmes in place for those living in the rural areas, however these services are limited as specialised services can only be provided at the facility such as Urology services.
Minister Nomafrench Mbombo said that more should be done for those living with physical disability, in remote areas, especially in parts of the West Coast and Central Karoo patients, to ensure that we are leaving no one behind.
On the day WCRC showcased some of the rehabilitation services for those living with physical disability such as in-patient rehabilitation services, the wheelchair basketball court and organising of games. This not only promotes the reintegration, physical health but also mental wellbeing.
Mr Fizel De Vries shared his story from a patient’s perspective and stated: “I used to view my physical disability as a life sentence, and I told myself that I will not live to see the next 5 years. Through support from WCRC, others living with physical disability and those near and dear to me, I was able to shift to a more positive mindset.”
Mr De Vries was left a quadriplegic because of interpersonal violence. Ms Adri Visser, Chief Physio therapist for WCRC stated that 49% of spinal cord injury patients admitted to WCRC are due to interpersonal violence, and most cases in the Metro are because of gunshot injuries, while stab injuries dominate in Rural areas. The service offers neurological rehabilitation for patient with various Neurological injuries e.g., CVA’s (Cardiovascular Accidents) and Traumatic Brain Injuries.
Mr Anthony Ghillino, the General Manager at QuadPara Association says that interpersonal violence is the leading cause of spinal cord injuries that leads to paralysis. He added: All stakeholders, such as government and other interested parties, like QuadPara, need to work together in addressing this issue, as government cannot do it alone.
Dr Helen Sammons, the Manager Medical Services, said: “You can’t fix a disability, you can’t fix an impairment, you need to manage it. The most important service rendered would be social reintegration, hereby aiding both our patients and their families.”