Intervention at clinic needed

Medical care in the Northern Cape appears to be a huge concern and community members are being treated without dignity.

This came to light after the DA’s visit to clinics in the surrounding areas of Upington.

Harold McGluwa, DA provin­cial chairperson and chief whip of the provincial caucus, said during an oversight inspection on Wednesday, 8 August, he was informed by a member of the Congregational Church in Straussburg – which has been utilised as a makeshift clinic for the past three years – that they are seriously considering closing their doors to the department.

“Exactly a month ago, when I conducted the first oversight to the church site, it came to light that the church has received no financial support, upgrades or maintenance work from the Department of Health.

“The Straussburg ‘clinic’ fails to offer patients any privacy, such as when basic health tests, HIV tests and urine tests for pregnant women have been prescribed by health personnel. The clinic is still experiencing shortages of basic healthcare necessities.

“The absence of a proper waiting room often leaves patients standing outside in the cold.”

McGluwa says poor service delivery at the clinic is further compounded by the unavailability of electricity, dysfunctional ablution facilities and poor handling of patient’s files.

“Nurses are forced to use their own financial resources to buy basic items such as wet wipes for hygiene purposes.”

McGluwa says while the Louis­vale Clinic improved in the procuring of medication and its treatment of the elderly, it is still experiencing understaffing, a lack of proper medication and is manned by a doctor who struggles to communicate with patients.

“The health department needs to pay special attention to healthcare facilities in the poorer areas of our province.

“If we are to move forward, we cannot leave anyone behind, especially those in the smaller communities.”

McGluwa says the DA will write to Fufe Makatong, the Northern Cape MEC for Health, to request urgent intervention in addressing the deteriorating healthcare conditions at Straussburg and Louisvale Clinic.