The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is a permanent, veterinary council registered, NPO (non profit organisation) animal clinic in Khayelitsha township in the area of Cape Town, South Africa. The clinic was founded in 1996 to provide veterinary care to a fast growing community that had no access to veterinary attention for their animals. Today, the organisation helps over 1,000 animals per month through consultations, hospitalisation, surgery (general, orthopaedic and sterilisation), mobile clinics and an animal ambulance for sick and injured animals, primarily dogs and cats. The clinic also has a shelter where animals live until they are found a forever home. Their vision is to see a healthy community that loves animals. They advocate that by looking after an animal people learn responsibility, respect for life, compassion and non-violence, although lack of education and funds might result in neglect, illnesses and injuries. With a strong focus on community empowerment, Mdzananda works on educating the community while providing low-cost veterinary care and welfare services to help people in townships to be the best pet owners they can be. During the pandemic many community members experienced a drop in income or lost their jobs. Mdzananda saw a spike in pets being admitted to their clinic during the hard lockdown periods. This increase has continued, they believe due to people spending more time with their pets, bonding with them and noticing illnesses and injuries sooner. Though they have been able to help many more animals and increase their educational interventions, it has put a strain on their staff and capacity. They have also had more people handing their animals over to them as they can no longer care for them due to Covid deaths or financial impacts. The increase in demand for Mdzanada’s services, the cost of PPE and measures to protect staff, and the need for additional security measures to protect the clinic (following several breakins and robberies) have all contributed to a significant increase in expenses since the pandemic began. At the same time, they have experienced a drop in income, particularly after the initial emergency period, as the economic situation has worsened for so many as the pandemic has dragged on.
The Scheinberg Relief Fund has provided funds to assist Mdzanada with the extra expense of hiring additional security to protect the clinic, additional veterinary expenses due to the increase in number of puppies and abandoned animals being rescued and treated, the purchase of PPE for staff, and the costs of private transport for staff to and from the clinic. Funds have also been directed towards the purchase of essential equipment needed for surgical procedures including an onsite system to generate their own oxygen supply, a vaporiser and anaesthetic machine. With this additional equipment Mdzanada hopes catchup on sterilisations not performed in 2020.