How Can We Serve You Better?

Big Issue|Issue 286

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How Can We Serve You Better?
Elaine Brass, CEO of the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA), shares the entity’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lessons it has learnt in the midst of this crisis.
Elaine Brass

The impact of COVID-19 has brought devastating consequences for many families and individuals across the world. This devastation has now reached South Africa. But, amidst such a world, there is also compassion, sympathy, understanding, and gratitude for so many things we take for granted each day.

The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) understands that although the government acted timeously to ensure that South Africa learns from the rest of the world and is better prepared to fight the pandemic, it still has brought with it a great level of stress, anxiety and financial distress.

The poverty levels we saw in our country before COVID-19 have increased already and will continue to increase to unprecedented levels as we have not yet seen the worst of the effect of pandemic on our people and economy.

The HWSETA identified early what our role could be in the midst of the crisis and acted quickly when the president declared a National State of Disaster. The HWSETA board put aside a budget of R100 million for COVID-19 interventions. Eleven intervention projects to the value of R100 million, addressing urgent areas of need in our sectors of Health and Social Development, were approved by 31 March.

Subsequently, the HWSETA has reprioritised planned funding for the 2020/2021 financial year to ensure it funds the needs arising under COVID-19 in the sector. Further projects to the value of another R100 million have been funded. These include internships for 1 210 social work graduates to assist the Department of Social Development (DSD) in hotspot areas, communities and quarantine areas, with psychosocial support and social work assistance.

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Issue 286