KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize spent World Aids Day with orphaned and abandoned children at Zakhe Place of Safety in KwaDabeka township, outside Durban.
The home provides shelter to children from birth to the age of six, and caters for children who have been removed by courts from their parents due to various reasons, those who have been abandoned or orphaned. They are referred to the home by the courts, social workers of police.
"The kind of work that you do here is very important because you are laying a foundation for these children in distress, and I am very pleased to see the level of care that you offer to these young ones," said Dr Mkhize.
He said the stresses that these children go through can manifest themselves in various ways, wither through physical or psychological challenges.
"I am very happy to see that you have been able to close the gap that existed before, where there is no medical history for these children, which could have resulted in their conditions deteriorating," he said.
Some of the children are being treated for various medical conditions, including mental challenges, TB and some are on ARV treatment.
Resident social worker Ms Khosi Mabuza said the facility has formed working relationships with various stakeholders, including the KwaDabeka Clini, where the children are taken for regular check ups, and with provincial hospitals like RK Khan and Albert Luthuli where more specialised treatment is offered.
She said all their workers have been trained by these institutions on how to care for the children and how to administer their medication because they all have different needs.
She said the home also works closely with a group of doctors who help with medical assessments of the children, which makes it easy for follow up treatment and keeping a medical history of each of the children.
She said the home encourages the children to be raised in family settings as opposed to institutions, with some of the children being returned to their parents, to relatives or foster families.
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Premier