The PlettAid Foundation aims to uplift the quality of life of the Bitou communities by promoting health literacy and wellbeing for all, and providing home-based palliative care and support for those living with life limiting illness.
We are committed to filling a crucial role in the health and welfare service infrastructure of the region and ensuring all have access to quality care.
WHERE WE WORK
Our work is focused in the Bitou region in the Eden District of the Western Cape, including the communities of Tsitsikamma, Storms River, the Crags, Kranshoek, Harkerville, Wittedrift, Kwanokuthula and Plettenberg Bay.
We serve a population of 64 023, comprised of 25 526 households of which 17% of households have NO income at all and 38% of households earn less than R5000 pm. 55% Of households do not have adequate financial means and are wholly dependent upon government supported public health system (according to the Bitou Independent Development Plan 2017 -2022).
The region has experienced rapid growth of its poor population in recent years, as migrants from impoverished communities in the Eastern Cape have moved to Bitou in search of better opportunities.
According to the 2011 census results, the Bitou community grew by 58% from 2001 to 2011, of which the poor community showed the largest growth percentage of 64.8% from 22 806 to 37 583. This rapid population growth, as well as dismal living conditions and poor nutrition, has put Bitou’s clinics and care facilities under significant strain.
OUR CARE PROGRAMMES
We operate two core programmes: the Plett Wellness Programme, a mobile health promotion and illness prevention service; and a holistic, home-based, Palliative Care and support programme for persons diagnosed with a life-limiting illness.
Holistically supporting our patients and their families is at the heart of what we do. We make every effort to educate our patients and their families around service access and treatment regimes. We also provide families with training on how to care for ill relatives, as well educating them on disease prevention and healthy living.VIEW OUR SERVICES
The PlettAid Foundation was founded in 2003 as the Plettenberg Bay HIV/AIDS Forum. At the time, the HIV epidemic had swept through South Africa and people living with HIV in poor communities across the country had no access to anti-retroviral treatment and proper medical care. Amanda Frost as executive director and Dee Pelham-Reid as chairman, with a host of community members that served on the Board of directors, answered the need. They secured premises to operate from, from the Bitou Municipality and proceeded to upgrade an old farmhouse in Kwanokuthula.
With the advent of anti-retroviral drugs being made available in South Africa in 2004, people living with HIV were able to continue living productive lives and the urgency of the need for support dwindled over the next couple of years. As the needs of the Bitou community changed over the years, the organisation adapted to accommodate these changing needs and at one stage operated a shelter for abused women and children and for a year in 2012 operated an in-patient hospice unit at Trinity House in Kwanokuthula.
The Plettenberg Bay HIV/AIDS Forum’s name was changed to the PlettAid Foundation in 2008. The name change reflected our broadened services to include patients with other chronic and life-limiting illnesses. In that same year, we were affiliated to the Hospice Palliative Care Organisation of South Africa (HPCA).
In 2014/15, a new board of directors were appointed, senior management was changed, and the organisation started a new chapter with three very clear focus areas:
- Offering Palliative Care for persons living with life-limiting illness, who were at the end of life.
- Offering a mobile health promotion, illness prevention, screening and testing service to improve the overall wellness of the Bitou community.
- Training community members in basic home-based care.
Professional nurses and home-based carers were trained in Palliative Care, a social worker was added to the staff compliment to assist patients and their families with psycho-social issues, medical equipment was acquired to help patients’ families to care for them at home.
The Department of Health came on-board and supported the mobile Wellness Programme by funding 1 professional nurse and 3 counsellors. They offered employee wellness programmes, did, door-to-door screening, testing and education and managed the quarterly DoH Medical Male Circumcision outreaches.
In this time, the organisation became known as Hospice Plett and while still being registered as The PlettAid Foundation, the Bitou community now knows us Hospice Plett and we adopted that as our “trade name”.
We opened our charity shop in April 2018 in an effort to create more sustainable funding in a shaky economic climate and at a time when funding from big corporations became increasingly difficult to obtain, given the large pool of civil society organisations. The generosity of the Bitou community made the Charity Shop an instant success.
In January 2019 the Department of Health asked the organisation to tender for a more comprehensive, integrated Community Wellness programme. The board of directors and our small staff of 18 agreed that expanding our services is the best way forward and in April 2019, the Department of Health awarded us funding for the Integrated Community Based Programme, which allowed us to take the Plett Wellness Programme to all the communities in Bitou, growing our staff compliment to 5 professional nurses, 1 Social worker, 27 community health workers, 13 counsellors and 7 admin and support staff members.