Health-e (Cape Town)

6 December 2012

South Africa: No Regular Health Services Since 2006

Lusikisiki — The community of Good Hope in the Eastern Cape has not had regular access to medicine and health services since 2006 when the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic there closed down.

The Department of Health implemented a mobile clinic service to visit the region. However, the unit rarely makes it there, leaving the Good Hope community without essential medicines and medical services.

The only option for villagers is to travel to the St Elizabeth Gateway clinic 45km away. The return trip costs about R40, which is often unaffordable in poor communities such as Good Hope, causing many people to go without treatment or chronic medicines because they can’t afford to access it.

“This makes us struggle to access health care services,” said the ward councillor for the area, Mr Zolile Jiba. He urged the Department of Health to use the premises previously occupied by the MSF clinic to open a health care facility for the community.

According to members of the community, conflict between the former ward councilor and the chief has delayed the opening of a clinic at the MSF site, causing many people to suffer unnecessarily.

Mtshana Mvlisi is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Lusikisiki in the OR Tambo health district in the Eastern Cape.

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