Farewell to ‘kind, sensitive’ facility manager

Henry Hassan Lemmetjies has passed on.

Friends, colleagues and family paid their last respects to Retreat Community Health Centre (CHC) facility manager Henry Hassan Lemmetjies last week.

Mr Lemmetjies, 53, died on Tuesday January 15 from suspected cardiac arrest at Lotus River Community Day Centre.

He was a well known and much loved face at Retreat CHC, which he managed since 2004 and his sudden death shocked the health community.

Mr Lemmetjies, who converted to Islam, was buried in accordance with Islamic customs on Wednesday January 16 from his Lotus River home and a memorial service was held at Retreat CHC on Friday January 18.

At the memorial service, several colleagues and friends shared stories and tributes of the man who dedicated 33 years of his life to the health service.

He worked in the southern and western substructure as the facility manager and started his career at the department as a personnel clerk at Lentegeur Hospital in 1985, and was promoted to administration officer in 1996.

He was later promoted to the assistant director of administration, overseeing Human Resource management, finance administration and support services at Victoria Hospital in October 1999.

He was promoted again in September 2004 and remained in his current position as the facility manager of the Retreat Community Health Centre until his untimely death. He was the longest serving facility manager in his district.

Western Cape health department spokesperson, Monique Johnstone, said Mr Lemmetjies played an integral role in merging two health facilities in Retreat.

“These facilities previously offered limited services to the
community and it was turned into one full package of care, and implemented an electronic patient folder capturing system at the facility for a more efficient data capturing process and patient experience.

“Henry ensured that each department in the facility had access to a computer in order to access patients results immediately and improve on waiting times,” said Ms Johnstone.

He also managed the integration of the maternity unit, revamped the dentist area, initiated and implemented the antiretroviral (ARV) clubs at the facility, and was always open to listen to his staff and give encouraging advice.

“He would do his departmental rounds in the morning to ensure that all services were running smoothly and that his staff were doing well. He was a very active
person who enjoyed participating in running and cycling activities with his family,” said Ms Johnstone.

At the memorial service staff shared laughs and memories of Mr Lemmetjies who clearly had a huge impact on patients as well as staff and always had a positive word to say. He was described as a kind, sensitive person who always went above and beyond his duties.

“He will be remembered and missed for his continued commitment to service excellence, his friendly disposition and his passion for technology,” said Ms Johnstone.

Dr Kathryn Grammer, district director of the provincial health department, said Mr Lemmetjies was a good leader.

“He was passionate about the people he worked with and for. He cared for the job he had and it showed in everything he did.
“He was an integral part of Retreat CHC and will be greatly missed,” said Dr Grammer.

Yazeed Solomon said his father was an honourable man.

“It feels good to hear the stories about him. Even though he was not my biological father, he was still my father. He always did things to make things better for his community, his friends and his family. His motto was ‘be kind to one another’ and that’s how he lived his life. We will miss
him immensely,” said Mr Solomons. Mr Lemmetjies leaves behind his wife, three daughters, three sons and four grandchildren.