KZN patients travel farther for better care

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Rural Woman
Songonzima Clinic patients say that they lost faith in their local clinic after bad service and preferred to travel father away to get better care.

Located about an hour west of Durban, Mafunze and Maswazini are served by the Songonzima Clinic. It cost no more than about R8 for community members to get to the clinic, but patients say they’d rather spend about four times that to get better service at clinics farther away.

“I would rather pay R20 for transport than spending my whole day on the benches of Songonzima Clinic without getting attention,” Sandile Mshengu told OurHealth. “The staff there go on break together and we are left standing waiting for a long time until they come back.”

Thandiwe Ndlovu says she was four-months pregnant when Songonzima Clinic health workers told her she was not pregnant. Sure that she was pregnant, she travelled to another clinic and was told she was indeed expecting a child. She chose to continue receiving antenatal care there.

A sister at Songonzima Clinic confirmed that allegations about long wait times and poor care may have had some truth behind them, but said that health workers had worked to develop solutions to problems alongside the clinic committee.

Clinic patient Nonjabulo Mkhize said that she had seen an improvement in services but cautioned it would be a while before the community’s faith in the clinic would be restoried.


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