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Water shortages: Ekurhuleni clinics sinking

Water shortages bring Ekurhuleni clinics to their knees
Two Ekurhuleni clinics are struggling to keep operating as water shortages ravage parts of Johannesburg. (Photo: Ekurhuleni Water - Twitter)
Written by Esau Dlamini

 

 

Two Ekurhuleni clinics are battling to keep their doors open as water shortages continue to plague Gauteng.

Both Tsakane Ext 10 Clinic and Sonto Thobela Clinic in Duduza, a township east of Nigel, have been battling since December last year. And it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain hygiene.

“The toilets aren’t working because there is no running water,” said a nurse from Tsakane, who wished to remain anonymous.

Cleaners forced to pick up faeces

The situation has been like this for almost four weeks now. The clinic sees an average of 100 patients daily. We only get a couple of buckets from water tankers that have been dispatched to reduce pressure so that our patients can drink or take their medication. My job is not to go out looking for water but to examine and prescribe medication to patients. Cleaners are sometimes forced to pick up faeces because of the blocked toilets,” said the nurse. 

The health facilities have, in the meantime, had to cancel some of the scheduled appointments and refer patients to other clinics.

Joyce Masuku, a 53-year-old patient, expressed her desperation as a diabetic. 

“This is a very serious problem, and something should be done. It’s unfair since we weren’t even informed about these water shortages. I have to take my medication daily. It’s January, and I have to borrow money to travel a long distance to the Dunnotar clinic. I’m not employed, and I’m a mother of five children,” said Masuku.

Unable to take medication

Another patient, Ntombizodwa Sibiya (37), wondered how they were supposed to take their medication.

“How can we when we don’t have water in our houses? You can’t. I went to Sonto to fetch my ARV treatment and was very angry when they told me they were closed because there was no water. Our government doesn’t care and only thinks about us when it’s time to vote,” said Sibiya.   

Bheki Radebe, 72, said it’s a huge struggle for her and her husband since they are pensioners.

“We can’t pay someone to go and collect our treatment for high blood pressure in Nigel. Can they please come and fix this problem because it’s been like this for a while. I have heard that schools have also been affected,” said Radebe.

The Gauteng Department of Health said both clinics were experiencing low water pressure and attributed the problems to the challenges experienced by Johannesburg Water.

Gauteng Health responds

Gauteng Department of Health spokesperson Motalatale Modiba, did his best to try and calm the waters. 

“The water challenge is due to the current infrastructure building of reservoirs and technical problems within the Rand water system. The water supply challenge has put a strain on the staff at the facilities, who are under pressure, and we are trying to deal with the situation. We want to appeal to communities to be patient and bear with us and understand that we are doing everything possible to ensure that we continue to operate and offer services at the affected health facilities. We would also like to urge community members to use water wisely,” said Modiba. 

Meanwhile, the City of Ekurhuleni said it is working around the clock to provide water tankers to areas hit by water shortages. – Health-e News 

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Esau Dlamini

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