In the mid-1990s, the newly elected democratic government took it upon itself to equitably provide social services to all citizens, marking the beginning of positive state intervention in the areas where SHAWCO functioned.
Today, SHAWCO is divided into 3 sectors: education, health, and social enterprise.
The SHAWCO education sector focuses on community development through tutoring programmes for school learners and young adults in disadvantaged areas.
Prior to 2003, SHAWCO was entirely dependent on donor funding.
SHAWCO co-ordinates six generalist clinics which operate at night on a weekly basis in various Cape Town communities, and two Saturday morning paediatric screening clinics (Table 2).
The most common presentations to the SHAWCO clinics (in 2011) are listed in Table 3.
Writing in the British Journal of Medical Education in 1967, David Katz (3) (then a fourth-year medical student) notes that the clinical environment of SHAWCO also 'enables the student to handle a patient with ease, enhancing the doctor-patient relationship'.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that students who volunteer for SHAWCO clinics are better prepared to deal with the rigours of their internship and community service years, but this has not been formally investigated.
The SHAWCO health sector is now investigating the feasibility of implementing a more holistic 'preventative' primary healthcare model, as well as capacity building, to replace its current primarily 'curative' healthcare model.
Dr D M Favara, currently an intern at the East London Hospital Complex, directed several SHAWCO clinics between 2006 and 2009.