SHAWCO Health: 78 years of service

27 December 2021 | Story Jenna Smith and Zi Yang He, Christian Tereze and Amy Stessl, President and Vice-President 2021 and 2022 Read time 4 min.
The 2021 SHAWCO Steering Committee.
The 2021 SHAWCO Steering Committee.

Despite the COVID-19 disruptions, SHAWCO Health continues to strive with the introduction of many new initiatives including the development of a cookbook, mom-and-baby clinics and collaboration with sex-worker organisation, SWEAT.

With SHAWCO Health’s legacy of 78 years, 2021 was a continuation of the dedication and hard work demonstrated by all our volunteers. Despite COVID-19 still being rife, SHAWCO managed to overcome obstacles and introduce many new initiatives. 

Students attending a Basic Skills workshop.

Weekday clinics, which are the pinnacle of SHAWCO Health, continued throughout the year, to ensure that we were still providing for the communities we have supported for so many years. As a result of the pandemic, health promotion became an increasingly important aspect of SHAWCO. This was evidenced in the monthly SHAWareness campaigns to promote the health of others through Instagram, clinics and many collaborations. The allied health professionals became more prominent at all clinics, allowing for further collaboration and multi-disciplinary team action, which is so well taught at UCT. 

During the devastating Cape Town 2021 fires, SHAWCO Pharmacy was able to provide donations of excess medication and hygiene supplies to help the frontline workers. The Paediatrics portfolio developed a cookbook to provide families with healthy, yet affordable recipes that could be distributed at clinics. Great collaboration was seen between Women’s Health and Paediatrics, who developed a Mom and Baby Clinic, which resulted in funding for a further five years of Mom and Baby Clinics, now aptly named after Marjorie McIntosh. Our Women’s Health portfolio was successful in not only conducting their normal Saturday clinics, but also collaborating with SWEAT, allowing for minorities to be prioritised. This success was continued with collaborations with Periods of Hope, MamaFlo and Cora. 

To provide students with a multitude of opportunities, basic skills workshops and mock OSCE’s were held and a prosperous internship talk series was hosted.

The talk series, “What Next…?”, allowed for SHAWCO alumni from around South Africa as well as overseas, to provide insight into what the future holds post-studies. 


One of the final campaigns hosted by SHAWCO in 2021 was the COVID-19 Kindness Campaign. This allowed for student volunteers to get involved in making 81 loaves of sandwiches which was subsequently donated to Ladles of Love during one of the COVID-19 waves. 2021 was an incredible year for SHAWCO, through initiating new projects, creating hybrid systems to continue our legacy projects and creating a basis for many more successful years. We thank the 2021 SHAWCO committee for their dedication and commitment, allowing for 2021 to be a year to be remembered.

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