For the past five months, Susan Mudau* has been trying to have her child immunised with DTaP, but with no success. This is a crucial vaccine that all children are supposed to have to protect them against a range of potential deadly diseases.

When she first visited the clinic in September last year the nurse told her to come back on another date, said Mudau. And on her second and third visits in October and November, Mudau was again asked to come back later.

The health care staff at Tshiombo advised her to visit health facilities in other areas, especially health centres, because they were unsure whether any local clinics would stock DTaP.

OurHealth visited the Tshiombo Clinic in November and the nurses confirmed that they haven’€™t had stock of DTaP for several months, and wasn’€™t sure when they would receive any again.

They also said that DTaP was not the only medication that was out of stock, but refused to say which other medications were also not available.

OurHealth returned to the clinic early in February and was told that DTap was still out of stock. The nurses maintained that they did not know when it will be available.

After several requests for comment, the Department of Health has still not responded.

DTaP immunisation is a combination vaccine that protects against three bacterial illness; diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough).

Before DTaP, these diseases often led to serious medical problems and even death.

* Not her real name

Story by Ndivhuwo Musetha, an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Thohoyandou district in Limpopo (Vhembe).


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