Lephepane Clinic gets an operational manager after five years

Placards on the fence of Lephepane Clinic, near Tzaneen, demanding a new clinic. (File photo)

The Department of Health has appointed a new clinic operational manager (OPM) at Lephepane Clinic. The clinic committee says it’s a step to right direction towards addressing shortage of staff at the facility.

According to the committee, the position has been vacant since 2013/14 financial year after the OPM left due to an alleged disagreement with the committee. The organisation raised their concerns with district management and then to the provincial department.

Lephepane Clinic secretary, Stephen Malesa says: “We have been complaining about the position of operational manager for the past five years at the district offices but they didn’t listen to us. It was until we formed a task team comprising community stakeholders to tackle various issues [at] the clinic with the provincial department and it seems they listened.”

“On top of our list was the infrastructure issue followed by the position of OPM and the security around the premises as we want the clinic to operate 24 hours,” says the secretary.

“We hope the appointment of the manager will eradicate problems such as shortage of medication and would also see more nurses coming to the clinic for the community to receive adequate health care services,” Malesa adds.

What is being done to alleviate the challenges

The department of health in the province has recently appointed 774 successful candidates for posts of support staff. According to the department, the move is to address the shortage of staff in their health facilities.

The recently filled positions include: 105 operational managers for primary health care facilities, 85 administrative clerks, 16 nursing managers, and 13 senior clinical managers.

“This is in addition to medical specialists and registrar positions which have been filled in the same period,” the department says.

“As part of rationalising, the department is committed to improving services delivery and it is looking forward to phase two of this recruitment process where unemployed post community health care professionals will also be given an opportunity to compete for the vacant positions which will be advertised.” 

Worst clinic in South Africa 

In 2017, Limpopo had almost 10 000 vacant positions unfilled, according to a Treatment Action Campaign 2018 report.

Meanwhile the Lephepane Clinic committee have vowed to fight for a new building to replace the old one, which has cracked walls and a collapsed ceiling.

“On Tuesday [December 3] we chased away the contractors who came here to renovate as our message is clear that we require new building, not renovation, and later we agreed that they can continue with minor maintenance such replacing doors and changing leaking taps as we also want people to access the services at the clinic with the confidentiality guaranteed and safe as possible.” 

In 2018 the clinic was found to be the worst clinic in the country by Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC) after it scored 20% and didn’t comply with National Core Standards, as safety of patients at the clinic is compromised due to the bad condition of the facility’s infrastructure.

The clinic committee is meeting the provincial department of health on December 11 to discuss the possibility of a new building. – Health-e News 



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