Country's worst clinic will not be rebuilt, merely renovated

Lephepane Clinic will only be renovated, not rebuilt as promised.
Lephepane Clinic will only be renovated, not rebuilt as promised.

A community’s dream of new infrastructure to replace their dilapidated clinic remains just that after an alleged sudden change of mind by the Department of Health to renovate the building instead of demolishing the decaying structure and building a new one.

Lephepane Clinic was declared the country’s worst clinic last year by the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC).

The OHSC, which aims to improve the quality of health care in South Africa, scored the clinic 20% and said it didn't comply with National Core Standards, as the safety of patients at the clinic was compromised due to the bad condition of the building.

The agreement 

According to clinic committee, after series of meetings last year between the community stakeholders and delegates from the department, it was agreed that they would first install a security fence, bring in mobile clinics, and demolish the old building. The committee is bewildered by government's U-turn.

“[It] was clear what needed to be done and we agreed on that. It was [a] palisade fence first and mobile clinics second, and that is what we agreed upon. The mobile clinics were to make sure the service wasn't disturbed while the old building was demolished and the new structure built,” says Mpapa Rakgoale, the clinic committee’s assistant secretary.

Putting patients in peril 

Rakgoale says the current building is not safe at all. It is not conducive to rendering proper health care services. There is no secrecy. The wall has cracks and you can hear some people giving birth or receiving counselling. The rooms are not enough,” says Rakgoale.

The OHSC also found that some health services are not performed according to the required standard. With the palisade fence recently completed, Rakgoale, told OurHealth that officials from the department had recently visited the clinic to do a survey with the intent to renovate.

“The palisade fence is now finished and we are waiting for a new building, nothing less. There were officials who came to do a clinic survey. We will soon call a community meeting in order to come with the way forward,” he adds."[The] Clinic Committee is a structure which has full access to the department to raise any matter of concern," says provincial health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana.

"We have not received any complaints from them, and until such time we will not entertain hearsay," says Shikwambana.

– Health-e News 

Image credit: iStock

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