​COVID-19 Pandemic A Psychological problem as much it is Medical

By Nande Fayo

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The Eastern Cape Social Development Department has noted with concern that the number of people in need of the psycho-social support services has been increasing during lockdown periods.

In the first quarter of last year, the Department serviced 2450 people needing psycho-social support, while in the second quarter it was 5308. In the third quarter 7056 were serviced by the Department and partners. 
The East-London based Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre is one of the Social Development Department critical partners that has been offering shelter services, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown periods. The organisation’s counselling programme provided counselling and paralegal support between April and December 2020 and reached 1 197 sexual violence survivors with containment and HIV prevention programs. The numbers have evidently been affected by differential levels of the Lockdown. Some forms of violence experienced by beneficiaries were intimate partner violence, family violence, survivors of rape, homeless and those due to a trauma-related incident. The majority were unemployed, and some found employment whilst at the shelter. 

In alleviating the pressure, Social Development Department MEC Siphokazi Lusithi handed over an electric vehicle to the Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre. The donation of the electric car from BMW will assist to transport victims of crime and violence to get counselling, para-legal support or shelter services. MEC Lusithi said the vehicle will go a long way in assisting Masimanyane in executing its work as foot soldiers in fighting Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Femicide. “I want to thank BMW for taking a proactive stance and taking action by making available resources to support the work that our sector is doing.” She also said that the intervention by BMW are inline with the departments  vision and go a long way in assisting stakeholders to have more impactful  and far-reaching effect in communities.