East Cape News (Grahamstown)

25 July 2003

South Africa: Clinic Uses One Needle to Draw Blood From a Queue of Diabetes Patients

Grahamstown — About twenty diabetes patients were being pricked with one unsterilised needle at a clinic here and were in danger of being infected with the HIV virus, said a former day care centre principal yesterday. (subs: Fri).

Former Capetonian Mr Sigidla Ndumo, 56, said he had been a diabetic for almost 20 years and had been going to Grahamstown's Cobden Day Hospital for check-ups since 2002.

Ndumo said the nurses there used a needle to prick the patient's fingers to check blood sugar levels and used the same needle for all the patients queuing on the bench.

"This has been happening since I got here two years ago but I only noticed it two weeks ago." He said he had never seen the nurses opening new needles and was worried that the hundreds of diabetes patients who queue at the clinic might be HIV positive.

"On Monday I'm going for an HIV test and if it turns out I'm positive I will institute legal action against the clinic and the provincial department of health." He said the nurses at the clinic were lazy and rude to patients. "I'm sure the hundreds of diabetics who go to the clinic would want to come forward and back me up." The former day-care centre head said he would now go to Settlers hospital for all his check-ups.

Attempts to contact the clinic were unsuccessful.

Makana municipality director of Health Mrs Nobuzwe Madlavu said she couldn't believe there were clinics who still used the same needle to prick patients.

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