For years, the Klippoortjie community east of Johannesburg has pleaded with local counsellors for a clinic. Now, some are saying the area’s new private clinic is an insult to injury.
According to community members in Klippoortjie near Boksburg, the private clinic charges R150 per consolation – a fee out of reach for many in the community.
Local community committee member Nonhlanhla Ngema said the private clinic comes after years of pleas for a public clinic have fallen on deaf ears.
“Counsellors have come and gone and we have been singing one song asking for a clinic,” she tells OurHealth “Now they provide us with a private clinic, how can one afford a private clinic in this disadvantaged township?”
“We need a public clinic,” she adds.
While mobile health services do visit the community, community members say that the mobile clinic does not always have the medicine they need. The nearest public clinic, Rondebult Clinic, lies about 6 kms south west of the town.
Although government strives to have a health facility within 5 kms of citizens, recent research by the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit finds that many continue to travel farther than that for care. Published in November 2014 in the international medical journal BMC Health Services Research, the UCT study found 90 percent of South Africans live within 7 km of the nearest public clinic.[quote float= left]”Counsellors have come and gone and we have been singing one song of asking for a clinic”
However the study, which plotted household survey data against health facility locations, found lingering racial disparities in the distances people travelled for care. According to the research, about 14 percent of black South Africans travelled more than 5 kms for healthcare. Only about 4 percent of white South Africans could say the same. The study also found that poorer South Africans were likely to live at least half a kilometre further from health facilities than those with more money.
Molly Shekeshe lives in Klippoortjie and says she struggles to reach Rondebult Clinic despite it being only about 7kms away.
“I struggle when going to the clinic because I have to spend R22 for a return trip from here to Rondebult Clinic,” Shekeshe says. “Can the municipality build a clinic for us? We really need it.”
Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality admits that mobile clinics do not stock all medicines but denes that Rondebult Clinic is not within walking distance. However, Spokesperson Themba Radebe says the municipality is in the process of planning a clinic for the area.
“The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality is in the process of planning a clinic for the Buhle Park/ Klippoortjie area but is awaiting finalisation of the process to secure a site,” Radebe tells OurHealth. “During the interim, health services will be provided from a mobile unit.”