Nurses forced to clean clinic after hours

Nurses forced to clean clinic after hoursAlmost half of South Africa’s population live in rural areas, but are served by 12 percent of the countries doctors. The Umthombo Youth Development Foundation in Kwa-Zulu Natal has assisted rural youth to become qualified health-care professionals. This image of a rural homestead in KZN was originally broadcast as part of Health-e News TV journalist Fathima Simjee's 2012 documentary, "A calling."

Clean enough to eat off the floors is how some people would expect a clinic to be, but in one Northern Cape clinic this is far from the reality.

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Nurses examine patient
Breipaal Clinic has allegedly been without a cleaner since August. (File photo)

At Douglas’ Breipaal Clinic outside Kuruman, the floors are allegedly caked in dried blood and waiting room is “filthy.”

The clinic has been without a cleaner since last August, forcing staff including overburdened nurses to act as cleaners after hours.

Breipaal Clinic patient Mary Jacobs said she felt sorry for staff shouldering additional work.

“I can see they are exhausted by the end of the day,” she told OurHealth. ” They just don’t have time during the day to do additional duties like clean the floors.”

“I have noticed that not all of them are helpful when it comes to cleaning up – I guess it is not their job,” said Jacobs, adding patients often leave the waiting area in a terrible mess.

Fellow patient Sherly Isaacs described the condition of the clinic’s floor as “unbearable”. Isaacs said she brings her baby boy to the facility for check-ups, but refuses to put him on the floor.

“I sit him on my lap all the time,” she said. “There are bloodstains on the floor – it is so unhygienic. I can’t let my baby crawl around and play in such conditions.”

The Northern Cape Department of Health had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press. – Health-e News.

An edited version of this story was also published on