In South Africa, St John carries out its operations from ten major Centres located in various cities and towns in South Africa, namely Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Fish Hoek, Grahamstown, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Port Elizabeth and Somerset West. In addition, St John South Africa’s provides support incapacitating the smaller St John Associations across the African Continent most recently in Malawi and Uganda.
As a leading organisation in the primary health care system, we provide, through a caring team of dedicated volunteers and support staff, training and services in first aid, basic health and home care to all those in need of our expertise, and to this end we are committed to utilising our available resources effectively.
St John – South Africa offers training to commerce and industry, schools, private individuals as well as the underprivileged communities in informal settlements and townships so individuals are able to assist in times of emergency at home and work. Our courses are designed to cater for the advanced first aider, right through to schoolchildren and the reading impaired.
Training programmes, course content and training methods are constantly being upgraded. As part of an international
organisation we are able to draw on the latest health and safety techniques ensuring that we offer not only our training clients the best and most modern but that our volunteers keep up to date with international standards too.
St John training courses are accredited by the following South African bodies:
Home Based Care training is carried out by qualified instructors both at one of our regional branches and in more rural settings across South Africa.
The majority of those coming forward for training in Home Based Care are women. These trainees have often expressed the immense value which their training has had. In addition to improved knowledge and caring skills, many have expressed an increase in confidence and improved status within their community.
Whilst many of the trainees work as volunteers, providing care to their immediate family, friends and neighbours, many use their new skills as a stepping stone towards formal employment in clinics, old age homes, children’s homes etc.
At present we have 274 Community Volunteers working in local communities. They provided 100 779 nursing and home visits in the past year, treated more than 9 829 first aid cases and gave 146 health related talks and workshops to various community groups.
In South Africa, St John has been responding to the HIV / AIDS crisis through Home Based Care training. This approach recognised that most sick and terminally ill people prefer to be treated at home by family and friends.
It is clear that our formal medical system is simply unable to cope with the growing numbers of people needing treatment. Caring for chronically ill people at home has many benefits allowing for a more holistic approach to care which in turn reduces discrimination by not isolating people in a formal hospital setting -‘out of sight – out of mind’.
Even when HIV/AIDS is not diagnosed, people fear rejection by family and community. Education and training of St John Caregivers is a strategy used to reduce stigma and increase community involvement.
The provision of home based care by family members, friends, neighbours and volunteers from faith-based groups, community and nongovernmental organisations is the only option to address the humanitarian and health needs of those who await death from this cruel pandemic.