'Inspiring, innovative' Cape Town clinic bags a global award

The clinic offers low-cost health services to public transport users

Cape Town's Sha’p Left health care hub, which offers easy-access health services to commuters, has received international recognition for its role in improving urban centres.
Cape Town's Sha’p Left health care hub, which offers easy-access health services to commuters, has received international recognition for its role in improving urban centres.
Image: Supplied

A Cape Town health hub which offers low-cost clinic services to public transport users has been recognised internationally for its role in inspiring innovation and improving  urban space.

A US-based Downtown Association has awarded its prestigious award, the Downtown Achievement Pinnacle Award, to the Greater Tygerberg clinic for its work in setting up the Sha’p Left health-care hub.

The award, which is the industry’s highest recognition, is bestowed annually on projects that identify improvements to urban centres around the globe. It represents the most creative and inspiring innovations in urban spaces, and the Cape Town project has won in the category of public space management and operations.

Established in November 2019, the nurse-run hub near the Bellville transport interchange has been offering quality low-cost health services mainly to commuters, who often have limited access to clinics because of work commitments.

The public-private initiative is a brainchild of the city of Cape Town, a city improvement body, Greater Tygerberg, and pharmaceutical giant Cipla.

Constructed from three repurposed shipping containers, the hub comprises an eye-care unit; a chronic dispensing unit pickup point and a double nursing surgery — with capacity to treat 80 patients a day.

The dispensing unit allows patients on chronic medication to collect their medication at the hub while in transit to work or home. The eye-care facility has been established with the help of well-known optometrists who were looking for an opportunity to get involved in community initiatives.

Warren Hewitt, who heads Greater Tygerberg, said the hub was an example of what the public and private sectors can do when they work together with shared goals.

“By delivering the Sha’p Left Nursing Hub in partnership with the city, we were able to put Cape Town and Bellville on the map in terms of global best practice in urban management.”

CEO of Cipla Paul Miller said the international award showed that health care and urban development go hand in hand. “The hub is an example of how innovative thinking and partnerships can help to ensure that people have convenient access to affordable, accessible health care.”

The hub provided patients with convenient access to quality health care without disrupting their daily lives.

David Downey, IDA president and CEO, said the hub has made an impact on the environment  and demonstrated “commitment to championing liveable, vital and thriving urban centres”.

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