Activists demand better service

‘€œWe are tired of the bad service we often receive from Baragwanath, one of the biggest hospitals in the country,’€ said Sbongile Tshabalala, chairperson for TAC in Gauteng. ‘€œNurses, doctors and patients are under pressure. Today we want to know what the CEO has to say about our letter of demands,’€ Tshabalala said.

At first the hospital’€™s deputy CEO refused to sign the memorandum saying that the matter should be handled by the CEO, Dr Maseko, who was not there. But the TAC Gauteng Secretary, Andrew Mosane, insisted the hospital take note of their demands.

‘€œIf the deputy CEO does not sign the memorandum, we are going to remain in the building,’€ said Mosane, and after the warning the deputy CEO signed the letter.

Phindile Madonsela, from the TAC’€™s Mofolo Branch PWA, said the community was very frustrated with the service at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. According to Madonsela, patients spend a lot of money travelling back and forth to the hospital, often without receiving any treatment, because there are no doctors available or they are experiencing medicine stock outs.

‘€œThis issue of essential drugs stock out has been happening at many health facilities around Soweto, causing patients to default on treatment,’€ said Madonsela.

Madonsela further complained about the Zondi Clinic where TAC’€™s Mofolo branch noticed they were initiating antiretroviral treatment without a doctor. TAC members there wrote a letter to the clinic about it, but never received any response. So they visited the clinic and lay a formal complaint with the manager.

One patient, Theophilus Samkelo, who gets his antiretroviral treatment from Zondi Clinic told OurHealth how he ended up at Baragwanath Hospital for four weeks. ‘€œI went to Zondi Clinic on the scheduled date for me to pick up my monthly treatment. I complained to the nurse that the medication I was on gave me problems, so the nurse changed my treatment without consulting a doctor. But within a couple of days I became sick and had to be hospitalised for a month,’€ said Samkelo. – OurHealth/Health-e News Service

Lungile Thamela is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Baragwanath health district in Gauteng.


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