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Free State rural areas in dire need of mobile clinics

Free State rural areas in dire need of mobile clinics
Patients in the Free State often have to get up early and wait for hours, or even be turned away, before receiving any medical care at clinics. (Photo: Ritshidze)
Written by Molefi Sompane

 

Pregnant with her second child, 25-year-old Kea Selai hopes to raise her kids in an environment with access to health care services. Her wish, however, seems unobtainable as she and others living in Zone 1 in Thaba Nchu have to walk long distances to seek basic medical care at clinics. 

Selai2 said the entire community feels abandoned by the government. She said mobile clinics provided by the department are not servicing them, except for delivering medication once a week. “We got to go to Zone 2 clinic, which is way too small to service two towns, but we go because we are desperate,” she said.

Selai24-hour  has joined the call for  Free State Health MEC, Montsheng Tsiu to address the problem.  

She adds that his area was big enough to have its clinic: “We flock like animals at Zone 2 Clinic, and we have to wait the following week to receive medication for what we went to the clinic for. Because clinic officials say, medication at the facility is limited to those staying there.”

Empty promises slammed

Selai slammed empty promises made by political parties during elections.

She said Thaba Nchu was just a milking cow used to get votes.

“These politicians, when election time comes, regularly visit us promising to build a clinic in Zone 1 but after voting, we do not see them anymore,” said Selai.

Setona Granny Mantlatseng Digacoi said she is forced to utilise private medical services. “I do not have the strength to stand in the sun waiting for medication or go to Zone 2 for a check-up. We often don’t receive medication immediately anyway,” she said. 

Thaba Nchu is home to the traditional community of Barolong Boo Seleka and its royalty. In a conversation with her majesty Gaoileloe Moroka during her coronation, she quoted health care services as a priority. “There are areas in and around Thaba Nchu that are still without access to primary healthcare. Such areas require the government and us to play our roles,” she said.

She called on the government to speed up building a new clinic for the community of Zone 1. Moroka added that usage of the mobile clinic needed to be escalated daily. 

“We are aware of the shortage of nurses, but we believe daily usage of the Mobile clinics should be rolled up daily to those in need of the health care services,” she adds.

Widespread shortages

The same plea was made by Brandfort community members earlier in the year.

Community leader and activist Zacheus Lene said it’s a disgrace that the government returns unused money to the treasury, yet there is a shortage of clinics. 

More clinics needed

“The Free State needs more clinics. It is unacceptable that post-1994, our people still don’t have access to a clinic, never mind one that operates 24 hours. In Brandfort, a clinic was vandalised, and instead of being fixed, they direct all communities to one facility,” he said.

The Free State Department of Health failed to respond to questions directed at them. – Health-e News

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Molefi Sompane

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