Patients must report ill-treatment at Tshilidzini hospital

Patients must report ill-treatment at Tshilidzini hospitalAlmost 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."

LIMPOPO – After reports of ill treatment of patients by hospital staff at Tshilidzini, outside Thohoyandou, the Department of Health has encouraged victims to report the ill treatment to the relevant offices at the hospital.

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Situated at Tshisaulu village, the hospital is mostly used by rural villagers who cannot afford private medical services. Long waiting periods for patient files, dilapidated buildings and a shortage of computer literate staff are just some of the challenges the hospital is facing.

In a recently released statement, the Treatment Action Campaign in the province said patients were forced to wait on average more than five hours for their files to be processed before they could be attended to by nurses or doctors at the hospital.

The hospital is one of the oldest in the province with old buildings that have generally not been maintained or renovated for years. TAC Limpopo Manager Moses Makhomisani said that the long hours patients spent waiting at some of the health facilities in the province were the result of a shortage of human resources. This often led longer hospital stays for patients, a higher number of deaths and increased pressure on the few staffers employed to do all the work.

Poor treatment

Last Sunday night, shortly before she passed away, Mashudu Mukwevho – who had just been admitted to the hospital complained to her family about being ill-treated by the nurses. She said some of them were beating her up for not being able to eat on her own as she was too sick.

Her story is one of several at the facility.

Limpopo Health Department spokesperson Derrick Kganyago has encouraged patients who are poorly treated at the hospital to report their cases to hospital management before they leave.

“We are saying to any patient who has a complaint or a compliment ‘Do not leave the hospital without reporting the matter to the relevant offices within the hospital premises’. We have people who are ready and willing to help them,” he said.

Kganyago added that a shortage of skilled staff was the reason for patients having to wait for hours at each visit as some health workers were not computer literate.

“We are currently in the process of sourcing young people who have experience with technology in a bid to speed up the process at our hospitals. We are aware that some of the people who are employed at our hospitals to work with patient’s files are not computer literate, so it takes them a very long time to process one file, resulting in patients having to wait for hours,” said Kganyago. – Health-e News.