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Community complains about poor service at clinic
<p>Sydney Makgai</p>
October 23, 2012

OURHEALTH. - Patients and staff at the Boitumelo Clinic in Sebokeng in the Gauteng Province are complaining about the services and working conditions at the health facility. Sources told OurHealth that the clinic is currently without a manager, causing medicine and staff shortages at the facility and resulting in poor service delivery.

“We have been waiting at the clinic since 7:00am, but the nurse just looks at us without offering to help,” said Mrs Emily Matshaneng who was at the clinic to collect antiretrovirals (ARV) and epilepsy medication. “It is now 11:30am and we still haven’t been helped.”

Mrs Julia Mthimkhulu said she has also been at the clinic since 07:00 am to collect her ARVs. “I was told to wait outside without any explanation. It is now 11:50 am and I am still waiting for treatment.”

A community mobiliser, Lebogang Pitso, said that conditions were very bad at the clinic. “The staff are not friendly to patients, especially in the family planning section,” said Pitso. “The attitudes make people not want to come to the clinic for STIs (sexually transmitted infections)”.

A nurse at the clinic, who didn’t want to be named, said that the clinic is not a nice place to work. According to her, the clinic had to close down in 2009 due to the poor conditions, and only reopened in 2011. “But the conditions are still the same,” said the nurse.

“We have only four professional nurses and volunteers to assist, and the doctor comes once a week. We only have one room for VCT (voluntary HIV counselling and testing) and one consultation room - that means that there is no privacy. And we don’t have a telephone for emergencies,” she said.

“In terms of treatment, we often have medicine shortage for common diseases like coughing. If we don’t have ARVs we take our own cars to collect treatment,” said the nurse.

Apparently clinic staff has tried to contact the Provincial Department of Health about the conditions at the clinic but haven’t received any response.

* Sydney Makgai is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Tshwane district in Gauteng.