Alexandra's state-of-the-art new clinic on track

Alexandra's state-of-the-art new clinic on trackArtist's impression of the R22.5-million River Park Clinic.

Barring finishing touches, Alexandra's state-of-the-art new River Park Clinic is set to meet its August 2015 date for completion of the first phase of construction.

Six healthcare centres are being built or renovated in AlexandraSix healthcare centres are being built or renovated to address the increasing demand for primary healthcare services in Alexandra.The R22.5-million facility will provide specialized antenatal care as well as counselling and treatment to TB patients, easing the pressure on the existing primary healthcare clinics in Alexandra.

Once operational, the energy- and water-efficient building, with a staff complement of 18 nurses and a doctor, will cater for the River Park, Lombardy, Tsutsumani and surrounding communities, populations that have grown substantially over the last few years.

River Park Clinic is one of six healthcare centres being built or renovated to address the increasing demand for primary healthcare services in Alexandra.

Modern, energy-efficient construction

Construction, which is being overseen by the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) for the City of Joburg, is proceeding within schedule. The ceilings are currently being put in and electrical systems are being tested. Glazing and wood coverings are set, and floor coverings are being laid.

While the traditional aspects of what makes a building are in place, it's the modern solutions that have been incorporated into the construction that are most impressive.

The JDA has taken advantage of advances in renewable energy technology and green building techniques to make River Park Clinic almost self-sufficient. The building will have generators to ensure a constant power supply to the fridges that keep medications secure. And solar-powered geysers, paired with rainwater harvesting, will safeguard the facility from water infrastructure challenges.

At the ground-breaking ceremony in January 2015, Health and Social Development MMC Nonceba Molwele said the clinic was expected to open to the community within about 12 months.

"The provision of health facilities adds to the comprehensive and decent nature of human settlement development," Councillor Molwele said.

Alexandra Renewal Project

The JDA is currently working on a number of projects in Alexandra, the clinic being one of them, that form part of the City's Alexandra Renewal Project, an ambitious undertaking to create a revitalized community of green space, libraries, sports stadiums and better access to services.

The upgrading of infrastructure and the public environment in Alexandra is helping small and medium sized businesses as well, with community-based employers being roped in as sub-contractors on JDA projects through the Jozi@Work job creation and empowerment programme.

Skills development in local communities that have been earmarked for redevelopment is central to the Alexandra Renewal Project: at least 10% of the value of each project is earmarked for upskilling community-based SMMEs.

On the projects spread across Alexandra, this has seen at least 785 people from the community being employed, at least 12% of whom are women. Over the lifespan of the Alexandra Renewal Project, an estimated 17 000 people will be employed in the construction industry.

The renewal of the City's infrastructure, including River Park Clinic, is being completed in conjunction with the national government through the Urban Settlement Development Grant, which was established to meet the challenge of accelerating urbanisation in the country's metros by turning burgeoning informal settlements into liveable, sustainable, economically viable urban communities.