MPILO HEALTH PARK
In recognition of the need to prioritize adolescent and young peoples’ health and HIV prevention, the DTHF built and operates a youth centre in Masiphumelele. The Youth Centre was first launched in 2011 and is located on 1.5 hectares of residential land outside, but adjacent to, Masiphumelele. The site is directly opposite Masiphumelele High School. About 5000 youth aged 12-24 years (roughly about 100-150 youth would use the facilities daily) were registered at the youth centre initially before it was restructured as an emergency vaccine centre in 2020 with the COVID19 pandemic outbreak. There have consistently been around 700-800 young women attending for sexual, reproductive health services at the youth clinic when it was an active youth centre and those SRH services have continued throughout. As the vaccine centre closed in early 2023, the centre was transitioned into the Mpilo health park, which was launched in September 2023.
The clinic at the Mpilo Health Park is staffed by nurses and doctors from the DTHF Masiphumele research site who are trained in offering youth-friendly services. It is supported by the Western Cape Department of Health who provide the required pharmaceuticals, testing kits and non-pharmaceuticals. This is in accordance with an MOU with them, as they recognize the importance of this service in the community. Up to 2019 the centre in addition housed a multidimensional youth program including educational and leadership initiatives and a recreation programme. This aspect unfortunately ceased when the funding cycle ended. It is hoped and planned that a new initiative will commence soon, once alternative funding has been secured.
The peripheral section of the Mpilo health park is an outdoor multisport facility which is utilised by the youth for soccer, basketball, netball, etc. and also includes an indoor gym with regular fitness classes on offer too.