LUSIKISIKI. - Makazi Damane is a 42-year-old Lusikisiki man living at the low-income housing scheme in at Joe Slovo. He was diagnosed with HIV and started antiretroviral treatment in 2006, but from 2010 have been going on and off of treatment.
“The problem started when the St Elizabeth Gateway Clinic where I go for treatment experienced drug shortages, and when you go you would only get one or two weeks' supply,” said Damane.
“Then I developed this carelesness of not taking my ARVs as required, for maybe a week or two weeks, and it is still going on even now. I take my pills regularly for a long time, but one day, out of the blue I stop again.”
One of the reasons he defaults on treatment is because he doesn't like going to the clinic to get his medication because he says the staff is rude, unhelpful and unsupportive.
“Patients at this clinic are defaulting because of the nurses there. In the morning the staff at the clinic starts work at 09:00, but at 10:00 they break for tea. The nurses are rude and we have to wait a long time before being helped. These are just some of the reasons people don't feel like going to the clinic. We are going to die here in Lusikisiki because of the way we are treated,” said Damane.
He also complained about the level of service provided at the clinic. “In this facility when doing a CD4 count you never get your results and you never know your viral load. No one cares about the patients, no notice is taken of you,” he said. “One time my neighbour nearly died after they gave her high blood pressure pills when she wasn't supposed to take it.”
Damane also pointed out that the hygiene standards at the clinic are poor and that the ablution facilities are often not working. - OurHealth/Health-e News Service
Mtshana Mvlisi an an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Lusikisiki in the OR Tambo health district in the Eastern Cape.