Vital Eastern Cape clinic has only 1 doctor twice a month

2017-11-17 05:43
Patients register in a tent at the Newlands clinic near Mdantsane. (Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik, GroundUp)

Patients register in a tent at the Newlands clinic near Mdantsane. (Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik, GroundUp)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

East London – Close to eight villages in Nxarhuni outside Mdantsane in East London depend on Newlands Clinic.

But the clinic has only one doctor who comes in twice a month, according to a GroundUp report.

A clinic committee member who did not want to be named said: "The doctor comes on the first Monday of the month, then skips a week and comes again on [the next] Monday."

Community members complained to GroundUp about regular shortages of staff and a lack of medication.

Patients are registered in a tent.

Those who use the clinic's services say the tent is not rain-proof and that depending on the weather it can be very hot or very cold inside. Before they had the tent, they had to queue outside.

Absenteeism

GroundUp visited Newlands Clinic to check on the service. The first time was November 1. It was a hot day and patients were waiting inside the tent.

The clinic manager, a Mr Matshangane, informed them that only one nurse was working that day as two nurses were absent.

He said the nurses had not informed him in advance that they would not be coming to work.

A patient, who only identified himself as Duna, told GroundUp that he arrived at the clinic before 07:00. He lives 5km away.

He said the clinic opened at 08:00 and clinic staff started seeing people at 09:00. It was already 11:00 and the queue was moving very slowly. Duna was panicking because he needed to fetch his grant money.

"I'm here to take my treatment. I'm not going to see a nurse; I just need to take my treatment. But I have to wait for more than four hours," said Duna.

He said if he left without taking the scheduled treatment, the nurses were going to ignore him the next day or serve him last.

No electricity, no water

Another patient, who did not wish to give her name, said the service at the clinic has been slow for a long time.

She said the problem was that the nurses start work late and stop working at 16:30.

"I always know that I will spend the whole day [here] because of shortage of staff. It's rare to find all nurses and doctor on the same day," she said.

GroundUp visited a week later on November 7. It was windy and unbearably cold inside the tent.

Once again the manager said there was a shortage of staff.

There was also no electricity and or water on that day.

Patients had to use pit toilets to relieve themselves.

Request for another clinic

Matshangane said he had a meeting and would not be able to see patients as he usually did when there was a shortage of staff.

Aseza Mali said the clinic was small, but it was centrally located.

"People from Cuba, Eluxolweni, New Bright, Chris Hani, Newlands and other areas come here and yet there's always shortage of staff. This clinic helps a lot of communities, but we only get a doctor twice a month. On other days, if you want to see a doctor you have to go to [Cecilia] Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane and you must have transport money," she said.

She said the community had raised the issue with the municipality and asked for another clinic to be built.

The Eastern Cape department of health and the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality did not respond to GroundUp.

Read more on:    east london  |  service delivery  |  health

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.