Health-e (Cape Town)

8 March 2013

South Africa: Soshanguve Community Unhappy With Clinic Services

SOSHANGUVE. - It’s early on a Wednesday morning and children are crying because of the heat while waiting in line at the JJ Clinic in the Tshwane health district. The clinic often sees more than 150 patients a day who comes to consult on various health problems.

JJ Clinic is located in Soshanguve Block JJ and is a small structure without any air-conditioning systems. The clinic is so small that patients have to wait outside where they are exposed to the sun or other weather conditions while waiting to be seen by the health practitioners.

Patients arrive as early as 05:30 in the morning only to receive assistance from 08:30. They are forced to come and queue at the clinic so early because admission only happen before 8:00 and those who come later are said to be turned back until the following day for any services.

Patients and members of the community are not satisfied with the services, and even though there’s a suggestion box their grievances are not taken seriously, and they are not sure if they are even read because the clinic doesn’t have a functioning community clinic committee. “The clinic manager is also often not present to supervise the clinic functionality because of other commitment or meetings,” said the clinic security who asked to remain anonymous.

A chronic patient, MaStompie, also expressed her dissatisfaction. “The clinic is often short of essential drug listed medicines like Panado syrup, and in December 2012 they were also short of ARVs,” said MaStompie.

The nurses’ attitude to clinic patients is also reported to be negative, and staff absenteeism is said to be common. However, Mr Thabiso Madonsela, a home-based carer has a different sentiment - he believes that clinic personnel are superb though he can’t dispute that the building is very hot.

However the community thinks the situation can change at this clinic if more buildings are built with a proper dispensary and waiting room, nurses are trained on how best to deal with their patients and a vibrant clinic committee is established. - OurHealth/Health-e News Service

Tshilidzi Tuwani is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Soshanguve in the Tshwane health district in Gauteng.

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