Platinum status for new clinic

Platinum status for new clinicRural areas remain virtual mental health wastelands.

Two new clinics are transforming the lives of rural communities in Mpumalanga, where people no longer have had to travel long distances to get medical attention

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The Wakkerstroom Clinic, which was opened last year, is the only one in Mpumalanga to have been awarded platinum status by the Ideal Clinic Assessment for the 2015/16 financial year. It has scored a patient satisfaction rating of 72%.

MEC of Health in Mpumalanga, Gillion Mashego, recently visited the clinic and commended the facility manager for her good leadership, but emphasised that he would be delighted when the facility reaches 85% patient satisfaction.

The clinic was opened late last year  in the Pixely KaSeme Municipality of Gert Sibande district, replacing the old one that did not meet the standards set for a basic healthcare facility.

Everything it needs

Gert Sibande District, as a National Health Insurance pilot district for the province, is keen on ensuring that all its facilities meet the minimum required standards set by the national Department of Health for all facilities in the country so the Wakkerstroom Clinic is receiving everything needed.

With a catchment population of 11 700, the new clinic sees an average of 1800 patients per month, with a clinical workload of one professional nurse for every 23 clients. This means the facility is set to continue delivering quality health care to this rural community.

Moses Mndebele, an elderly person who collects his diabetic treatment at the clinic every month, said: “We are delighted to have this new facility officially opened. We started using it last year. The staff are very welcoming and we haven’t experienced any treatment shortages so far.”

The area the clinic serves is almost 30km away from the district’s Amajuba Memorial Hospital and has no public transport. People needing to visit the hospital have to hitch hike, making it hard for them to be at the hospital on time.

Flavoured condoms

MEC Mashego said: “This is a very rural community and they need this facility to be functioning fully and able to deliver all health care services which are supposed to be available at primary health care level.”

He also had a special message for the local youth: “Please, take good care of yourselves and don’t go out looking for blessers. They will give you HIV and STI’s, which you don’t need. Young men and boys, get circumcised, know your HIV status and use condoms. As a department we listened to you and produced the kind of condoms you need, so flavoured condoms are now freely available across all public health facilities. Use them to protect yourself.”

Meanwhile, the new Sinqobile Clinic at Hlanganani Trust Ward 11 of Pixely KaSeme Municipality has been surrounded by controversy since 2009 when the contracted construction company couldn’t complete the job on time .

In 2014 Mashego, who was newly appointed as Health MEC, took over the management of the matter and  appointed a new company. The construction of the clinic was completed early this year.

“This facility has been operational for a month now, and already the staff have attended to 600 clients. The clinic is fully staffed with trained professionals on all levels needed for this facility to function properly. We have cleaners, grounds men, professional nurses. The clinic is currently operating eight hours a day, but as from 1 September it will operate 12 hours a day and eventually we will be open 24 hours,” said MEC Mashego.

[quote float = right] The clinic is fully staffed with trained professionals on all levels needed for this facility to function properly. The clinic is currently operating eight hours a day, but eventually we will be open 24 hours,”

The facility has a dentist visiting every Friday, and a psychiatric nurse visiting on Mondays.

“Most of us used to go to Ermelo Hospital to have rotten teeth extracted. It is 60 km away and transport money is always a problem. Now with this dentist visiting the clinic every week, it makes our lives easier because we can walk here. We don’t have to use money to access this service,” said one of the local community members.

Open day

The clinic manager is planning to host an open day this month to market the facility and all the services  that are now available, and to build a good relationship with the community.

Speaking words of encouragement to the clinic staff, Mashego said: “Take good care of this community, and they will take good care of you. Show them your positive attitude and you will earn their respect. Please remember, these are your mothers and children. They come from the same community as you. Respect them.”