Health over wealth. This nurse used her pension to save her community
Olivia Pharo has no intention of slowing down. When the nurse resigned, she could have taken her pension and travelled the world. But this was actually the start of her bringing better healthcare to Atlantis, a suburb in the Western Cape. Working at a local hospital, Pharo experienced the burden that gang-related casualties placed on medical staff. She grew increasingly frustrated at the disproportionately high number of patients limiting the time and quality of care she was able to give. “It is a human right for every patient to be treated with respect and dignity,” Pharo says. To ensure they receive the care they deserve, she cashed in her pension and used it to open her own clinic.
In March 2019, the nurse started Sister Pharo’s Primary Health Care. Alongside a small but dedicated team, she offers services ranging from medical tests and suturing to family planning. Pharo also does house calls, bringing aid to those who are bedridden or don’t have transport. “We strive to provide our patients with excellent healthcare,” she says. With more time to spare, Pharo can offer thorough treatments and long term solutions. “The best part is seeing patients leaving this clinic happy and content,” she says.
Having been a nurse for close to three decades, Pharo remains as committed as when she began. If people are in need, she’ll be there. “It’s not only an honour but a privilege to serve my community,” Pharo says. In little over three months, more than 700 patients have benefitted from her clinic. The residents of Atlantis can now place their trust in the compassionate hands of Sister Pharo. When we put others before ourselves, we find endless opportunities to transform lives.