Community’s 12-year wait for a health centre may soon be over

Twelve years back, the North West Department of Health started construction on a multi-million rand, state-of-the-art community health centre (CHC) in Mathibestad in the Moretele local municipality.  

The project was meant to be completed in 2015. But the unfinished building is still incomplete. The space is currently being used as office space by the department of health officials. 

North West health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane says construction on the project was halted “due to non-performance and non-completion of the project, the initial contractor was terminated in July 2017”. 

A new contractor was appointed to finish the facility in March 2022.  

Delays in resuming construction

“After termination of the initial contractor, a completion project was initiated and a completion contractor has been appointed,” says Lekgethwane. 

But there were major delays in the final appointment of a new contractor.  

“During the preparation of the completion contract tender, it took a considerable amount of time to agree to the scope of the completion project. The tender period itself was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

Lekgethwane says the completion project is on course and the CHC should be done in early December 2023.

Extended healthcare access

A CHC is also a primary healthcare centre similar to a clinic. But the services provided here  are more advanced with 24 hrs services of maternity, procedure rooms, accident and emergency care and beds. 

Mathibestad does have a clinic, but the services it renders are limited. The completion of the CHC means that residents like 70-year-old Violet Golela have access to more comprehensive health services closer to their homes. 

“We have given up. There were rumors that it will be turned into a hospital that we desperately need but that doesn’t seem to be happening. We are urging the North West Department of Health to ensure that the centre is working soon, it doesn’t have to be a hospital as long as it’s working,” she says.  

Lekgethwane says, once complete the new CHC will render a comprehensive package of primary health care services. The facility will also offer the following quality healthcare services: 24-hour emergency services; maternity services; family planning; oral health; pharmacy; and ward-based outreach teams services.

A medical officer will be on site for 24 hours at its emergency unit. The new CHC will also accept referrals from all clinics in Moretele sub district.

The facility will also see low-risk antenatal care patients for labour. Patients needing termination of pregnancy will be attended to during normal working hours. The new facility will also offer adolescent and youth friendly services during planned weekdays. – Health-e News


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