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Mothers deliver in filing room

Written by Suprise Nemalale

Staff at Limpopo’s Matavhela Clinic in Vhembe say they have run out of room to house new mums and babies or guarantee patients’ privacy.

With only two counselling rooms, the clinic can not ensure patient confidentiality during HIV  testing, say counsellors

With only two counselling rooms, the clinic can not ensure patient confidentiality during HIV testing, say counsellors

Muelelwa Nembambula gave birth to all three of her children at the clinic.

“While I was admitted here in the maternity ward, I encountered problems of having to share the room with the clinic cleaners and the staff members when they were busy with filing,” said Nembambula, adding that there is no privacy now that she returns to the clinic as a regular patient. “We no longer have the privacy we should have in the ward as patients because the very same ward is, again, used as an office.”

HIV testing counsellors say they are forced to test people for HIV out in the open.

“Some patient refuse to even come for pre-test counselling because they say it is not done in private but in public because the is no specific room for HIV counselling and testing,” says counsellor Thivhulawi Ndou. “We have nothing to do besides use a free open space at the reception because we are short of rooms.”

A Matavhela Clinic nurse told OurHealth the well-staffed clinic has struggled for space for about two decades. She admits the clinic has only two consulting rooms.

Other staff members say the problem has been reported to local government but that nothing has happened.

“We just hope that they will eventually consider this issue seriously and provide us with infrastructure,” said one staff member, who asked to remain anonymous.

About the author

Suprise Nemalale

Suprise Nemalale is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Limpopo's Vhembe Health District.