Long road to health

medicalVhembe – Villagers in Gumela, Musunda, Tshitanzhe and Tshikotoni have to literally travel or walk for hours to Matavhela clinic, their closest healthcare facilities.

“I am old but that does not matter because I still have to walk from my village to Matavhela clinic. There is nothing I can do because I cannot survive without my medication, so I have to go and get it,” says Muofhe Tshavhuyo from Gumela village.

Muelekanyi Netshanzhe (38) recalls an incident recently when she had to walk with her sick daughter: “I come from Tshikotoni village and it takes up to three hours from my village to Matavhela clinic. The other day my daughter was so sick and I had to take her to the clinic which is very far. I had to walk from my village to the clinic because there are no full time transport and I couldn’t hire someone’s car because it is expensive.”

Netshanzhe adds that emergency transport is virtually non-existent: “When we call the ambulance to come and take us to the clinic if the matter is serious, it takes a long time to arrive so we have no other option but to walk to the clinic.”

Michael Mudoseni says they have been putting up with this situation for many yers. “We have been living with this situation for more than ten years now and we think that now is the right time for us as villagers to get a clinic in our area. The Department of Health must take responsibility now and do what needs to be done and that is building a clinic for us.”

Meshack Mmbengeni (45) concurs that they are tired of the long distances.

“It is also sometimes difficult for us to get medication because the clinic serves many villages and when we happen to not get medication because they are out of stock, we get sent back so we sometimes travel for nothing.”

He says the community has considered organizing a protest march in an effort to draw attention to the urgent need for a clinic. “We are also human and we are striving for good health so the department must do something about this and fast. We too have rights to good health and with no clinic in our area, our health is poor.”



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