At the outskirts of Cape Town in South Africa there are a number of townships that came about during the apartheid era, then as large “illegal” squatter communities. During the 1970-s and 1980-ies a state of emergency constantly prevailed in the townships since they, in principle, were war-zones. After the end of apartheid these townships still exist with vastly spread poverty. The communities have been established at, or nearby dumps, from where bare necessities have been gathered to form shelters and houses for the people. Stamped earth floors are very common.
Unemployment in the townships rates at about 50% and many of those who have a job work for a salary of some 10 Rand (not quite one (1) USD) an hour. The consequences in the townships of unemployment and poverty, primarily affect the children who get undernourished and sick. Several diseases prevail, e.g. HIV / AIDS. When a mother gets AIDS and dies, the child, especially if it is small, will have a hard time surviving.
The Rotary Clubs of Göteborg-Örgryte, Göteborg-City, and Kromboom in Cape Town, together with Rotary International, jointly contributed with funding (“Matching Grant”) for the furnishing of (used) dental equipment for a two-room dental clinic and for the provision of necessary equipment, consumables, equipment maintenance etc.
In November 2007 dental equipment of some 1 tonne was shipped to Site C, Khayelitsha outside Cape Town. The equipment was installed in two dental rooms in early December at the premises of the NGO Philani Nutrition Trust. This dental clinic was inaugurated / blessed by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on 13th December 2007 and the dental equipment was thereafter donated to the Philani Nutrition Trust.
The Ncuma Foundation
The Ncuma Oral Health Foundation was formed in September 2007 with the initial aim to collect funds for the running of the Philani Oral Health Project including its dental clinic. This basically meant reimbursing the Philani Nutrition Trust for costs for dental staff salaries and for the transport of child patients from pre-schools to the clinic and back again. At the townships there are very few public transports available and parent/caretakers most often do not have access to a car or any other means of transporting their children to the clinic.
The cooperation between the Foundation and the Philani Nutrition Trust ceased in September 2014 since the Western Cape Department of Health was about to take over the running of the Philani dental clinic.
In April 2012, the Foundation together with the Phambili Community Development started an oral health project including a dental clinic in the Broadlands Park community. The Foundation had funded the furnishing of (used) dental equipment for one room and for its installation in Phambili’s main building. The equipment has been donated to the Phambili Community Development.
Since 2012 the clinic has an oral hygienist employed at half-time at the Foundation’ expense.
An agreement has been met with the provincial Western Cape Health Department regarding the successive take-over of the financial obligations for the running of the oral health project including its dental clinic. Since 2013 the Health Department covers the costs for the clinic consumables.
The Foundation´s third Oral Health Project began as a two-room dental clinic was established in February 2016 at the Nomzamo Business Centre in the Nomzamo township in cooperation with the NGO Masincedane Community Service. The dental equipment has been donated to Masincedane.
As from 1st May 2016 an oral hygienist works full time at the clinic and at crèches within the community. The Health Department covers the costs for the clinic consumables.
The dental clinic at Nomzamo is named the Ncuma Dental Clinic.