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Florida, South-Africa: Thandanani Centre’s responses with regard to COVID-19

Thandanani Centre, an institute of Brothers of Charity in South-Africa, provides mental health care. It was founded in 2001 by the Brothers of Charity. It is now registered and functions as a Non-Profit Organization (NPO). It has residential and day facilities for persons living with severe psychiatric disorders. The Centre has a capacity of up to 60 residents and offers to clients a structured, supportive environment and helps them to live as autonomous as possible. They share their skills and learn other new ones which includes domestic, social, professional, etc. with a community reintegration plan. Furthermore, the Centre raises awareness and advocacy in the community and in the society in general. In South Africa, stigmatization is still a reality and that is why the Centre is very important and needs the support of everyone.

South Africa is among the African Countries which has recorded till today high numbers of COVID-19 cases. In order to create a protective and safe environment, Thandanani Centre implemented adequate responses to COVID-19 to protect the residents and the staff. This was achieved through team work (the director, the staff and the residents…).

In the month of June (2021) the Director with the management team revised the COVID-19 management plan. We continue to wear masks, washing our hands and maintain social distancing.

The changes that took place were as follows:

  • All four houses (workshops and residence) were quarantined (workshop was closed) with designated outside areas for each house to spend some time outside for fresh air.

  • One house had more than one COVID-19 case and the whole house was placed in quarantine (with the sick placed together)

  • Those without any symptoms were advised to keep distance from those showing symptoms

  • All residential houses, staffroom, clinic, office, workshops, kitchen and dining area were disinfected.

  • Windows open at all times during the day for ventilation

  • Anyone showing flu-like symptoms was immediately isolated and given 5-day flu pack and antibiotics for chest infections

  • All resident oxygen levels were monitored (we hired 6 12L oxygen cans and had an oxygen Sats meter)

  • All patients who had breathing problems were sent straight to Helen Joseph casualty facility.

  • Meals were prepared by all staff and delivered outside each house (we used covered disposable plates)

  • Staff held meetings with the residents outside their houses to maintain social distancing. Staff were allocated to 4 houses and dropped off activity packs to keep them busy

  • Clinic nurse paid daily morning visits for medication and temperature checks

The staff educated the residents on the virus and the importance of adhering to the new protocols. Everyone was on board working together to fight the virus and ensure that we did not experience anymore deaths (we lost 2 residents due to COVID-19).


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