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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499


JOHNSTON, Deanne; EGAN, Anthony  y  MCINERNEY, Patricia. The rise, fall and re-establishment of Trinity Health Services: Oral history of a student-run clinic based at an inner-city Catholic Church. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2018, vol.44, n.3, pp.1-21. ISSN 2412-4265.

The Catholic Church played a significant role in healthcare within South Africa through the establishment of 73 hospitals by the 1950s. However, the majority of these had been taken over by the state by 1970. Trinity Health Services (THS), a student-run clinic providing free healthcare to the homeless and operating from a Catholic Church in Johannesburg, proposes a new model for involvement of the church (and by extension the wider religious community) in healthcare. This oral history describes the story of THS, a joint partnership between Holy Trinity Catholic Church and the University of the Witwatersrand. It defines the stakeholders, namely the students, the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, and Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and explains their contributions to the clinic. The clinic was established in 2004 by two medical students and soon expanded its services, therefore needing more space and resources, including a pharmacy. The clinic was closed from 2011-2015 while registering the pharmacy. It reopened in February 2016, offering medical and pharmaceutical services. Convergent and divergent themes are described between the history of THS and more traditional Catholic healthcare. Similarities are drawn between the communities they serve, their approach to healthcare, and legislative challenges faced. The differences relate to the involvement of both secular and religious people in THS who are motivated to serve for humanitarian reasons, compared to religious sisters who were serving as part of their mission. THS shows the importance of healthcare projects with religious links. This new paradigm calls for the involvement of multiple partners, involving both religious and secular entities, in providing much needed services to underserved communities within society.

Palabras clave : Catholic healthcare; student-run clinics; social justice; Trinity Health Services (THS).

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