Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, the Western Cape health MEC, is not your typical bureaucrat sitting in an office in a stiff suit. Apart from visiting every corner of the Western Cape to encourage vaccination, she has launched a “Jabs b4 Jols” roadshow to meet the “ama-TikTok” on their own turf and often arrives in Insta-worthy footwear and a hairstyle of note.
Her philosophy? Meet people in their normal cultural spaces and you’re far more likely to get them jabbed. She says young people shy away from formal health services at the best of times, but a club is a place they know and love — which is why she recently had a pop-up vaccine site at Rands club in Khayelitsha. Next stop: Cubana and clubs in Long Street in Cape Town’s CBD.
The idea isn’t that people will get a jab while they’re out on the jol but to offer daytime jabs at places where they feel at home and frame it as a social event.
“When the economy opens up there will be many gatherings, and normally the first people to go out there, especially with summer coming, are the younger ones of 18 to 35. I call them the ama-TikTok or the bundle of joy generation. Even with HIV we had to set up youth-friendly services or go to sites where young people are already,” she says.