Service never sleeps

2017-04-26 06:01
The Free State MEC for Health, Butana Komphela (left), watches as nurse Tlale Finger attends to patient Thandi Majola at the Batho Clinic.Photo: Mlungisi Louw

The Free State MEC for Health, Butana Komphela (left), watches as nurse Tlale Finger attends to patient Thandi Majola at the Batho Clinic.Photo: Mlungisi Louw

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The Batho Clinic in Bloemfontein is being piloted as the first 24-hour public clinic in the Free State to address increasing health service demands. The health facility is located in the Batho township, one of the oldest and historic residential settlements of the Mangaung township.

The clinic is located along the Fort Hare Road. It is walking distance from Maphikela House, former residence of Thomas Maphikela, one of the founding members of the African National Congress (ANC).

The new-look clinic began operating 24-hours a day from 16 April, said Butana Komphela, Free State MEC for Health.

It serves residents of Batho and neighbouring settlements.

The work of turning it into a top notch clinic began two years ago with renovations to the tune of R8,5 million. The cost includes the installation of a generator. Vandals forced the clinic to close in 2014.

In an exclusive interview, Komphela said the department plans to extend working hours to 19:00 at several other clinics across the province to deliver effective health services.

Komphela said the department has also capacitated two other clinics to operate for 24-hours a day. These are the Lesedi Community Health Centre in Kroonstad and the Pax Community Centre in Viljoenskroon. He said clinics such as the Vivian Mangwane Clinic in Parys and the Harry Gwala Clinic will soon follow.

Joyce Ramakau, operational manager of the Batho Clinic, said the health centre offers an array of services, including treatment of minor ailments, chronic illnesses and mother-to-child health services.

To ensure a prompt response at Batho, the department has augmented medical staffers who work with a resident doctor. The clinic also has a social worker and a dietician.

Despite a shortage of medical professionals in the province, the department has managed to employ 19 people: eight nurses, three pharmacy assistants and eight data capturers who now work at the clinic.

Addressing the thorny issue of shortage of medication at the clinics, Komphela said: “I use a stock feasibility app on my phone to keep track of medical supplies in clinics across the province.”

More than 4 500 locals are attended by medical staffers monthly, Ramakau said. She hopes the clinic will offer delivery (maternity), services in the near future.

Kgoadi Maledu, chairperson of the Batho Clinic committee, said the improved medical facility has made access to health services easier for residents.

Nozipho Sondiyazi, Mangaung district manager for clinics, said rendering effective service includes reducing long waiting periods at the 252 clinics in the Free State.

She said getting residents into the culture of booking appointments in mother-to-child services has reduced waiting periods.

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