It’s been three months since expectant mothers in Seutelong in Moretele, North West province have been able to get an ultrasound scan at Sediane clinic. Patients say they have repeatedly been told that the doctor is not available. The clinic relies on a portable ultrasound machine which the doctor brings along when making rounds at the clinic.
Ultrasound scan is used during pregnancy to check the baby’s development. Without this machine the mothers are faced with a dilemma of having to go pay for the services at private institutions.
Kgothatso Mathibe (28) is six months into her first pregnancy. She has missed two anomaly scan appointments. This scan is done around the 20th week of pregnancy (five months). It is vital to detecting any abnormalities.
Not having this test done yet has left her anxious and stressed. The situation is made worse by clinic staff’s evasive responses to her queries.
“When we asked where the doctor was, they first said she was sick. Then later they changed their statement saying the roster had been changed by the department and we should wait until the next appointment. We’ve been waiting for a month now.”
Limited access to limited services
Sediane clinic is the closest facility where Mathibe can access antenatal care services from a doctor. She still has to travel more than 20 kms to get to it. The clinics that are within a walking distance from her home only offer regular check ups. They don’t cater for high risk pregnancies. Mathibe was told early on in her pregnancy that she had low blood pressure and her pregnancy would be complicated.
“I’m currently not working and I don’t have the money to keep traveling to the clinic only to be turned back. I wish they could tell us something tangible instead of the run around they are giving us,” she says.
The North West Department of Health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane says the department was not aware of the situation in Sediane and it will be investigated. The public service code of conduct will be enforced through disciplinary actions should it be necessary.
He says every clinic should be visited by a doctor at least once a week.
“If a doctor is on leave, the clinical manager is responsible to allocate another doctor to visit the facility at least twice a month, and once a week where it is feasible.” – Health-e News