New clinic offers health services for teens

At the launch of the Adolescent Centre of Excellence, from left, are paediatrician Dr Zakira M-Sablay; patients Cameron Green, Salsabeel Jaffer and Luke Jacobs; Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo; and patients Nabeela Plaatjies and Cha-liam Martin.

Groote Schuur Hospital has opened a clinic in Rondebosch that will offer a range of health services for teenagers.

The Adolescent Centre of Excellence, officially launched on Wednesday March 16, is on the corner of Milner and Park roads.

“This public health facility will be providing a holistic package of care to patients who are referred from other facilities in the province,” said hospital spokesman Alaric Jacobs.

It would help teens to deal with chronic illnesses and comply with treatment regimens and offer both individual and group counselling, he said.

A paediatrician at the facility, Dr Zakira M-Sablay, said investing in adolescent health today had multiple spin-offs in future years.

“The idea is to provide a home for adolescents with long-term health care until they are ready to transition into adult services, as well as to provide a space for expert opinion and care for general adolescent medical conditions,” she said.

The South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP) and TB-HIV Care are working with the centre.

Kim Starkey, a counselling psychologist from the SACAP Foundation said they wanted to help meet the need for quality mental-health services in vulnerable communities, and Dr Laurene Booyens, from TB-HIV Care, said they would focus on finding missing TB cases and providing “supportive preventative and therapeutic care”.

Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, who was at the launch, said the centre would cover a range of issues, including HIV, TB, sexually transmitted infections and Covid-19; gender violence; mental health; contraception and reproductive health needs; disability; substance abuse; and support and counselling for members of the LGBTQI+ community.

The centre would help young people to make healthy decisions, she said.