The community’s dream of new infrastructure to replace their dilapidating clinic remains just that after an alleged sudden change by the Department of Health to renovate the building instead of demolishing the decaying structure to build a new one.

Lephepane Clinic was declared the country’s worst clinic last year by the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC). The OHSC, which aims to improve the quality of health care in South Africa, scored the clinic 20% and said it didn’t comply with National Core Standards, as the safety of patients at the clinic was compromised due to the bad condition of the building.

The agreement that was reached

According to clinic committee, after series of meetings last year between the community stakeholders and delegates from the department, it was agreed that they would first install a security fence, bring in mobile clinics, and demolish the old building. However, the committee is bewildered by the government’s U-turn.

“[It] was clear what needs to be done and we agreed on that. It was [a] palisade fence first and mobile clinics second, and that is what we agreed upon. The mobile clinics were to make sure the service isn’t disturbed while the old building is demolished and the new structure is built,” says Mpapa Rakgoale, the clinic committee’s assistant secretary.

Putting patients in peril

Rakgoale says the current building is not safe at all

“It is not conducive to render proper health care services. There is no secrecy. The wall has cracks and you can hear while some [are] giving birth or receiving counselling. The rooms are not enough,” says Rakgoale.

The OHSC also found that some health services are not performed according to the required standard.

With the palisade fence recently completed, Rakgoale, speaking told OurHealth says that officials from the department had recently visited for the clinic survey with the intent to renovate.

“The palisade fence is now finished and we are waiting for a new building, nothing less. There were officials who came to do a clinic survey. We will soon call a community meeting in order to come with the way forward,” he adds.

“[The] Clinic Committee is a governance structure which has full access to the department to raise any matter of concern,” says provincial health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana. “We have not received any complaints from them and until such time, we will not entertain hearsay,” says Shikwambana. – Health-e News