Government continues with the roll out of NHI compliant clinics in the Eastern Cape. Deputy health minister Dr Joe Phahla is opening four NHI compliant clinics in the OR Tambo District this week.

The first clinic to comply with all NHI norms and standards was officially opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa at Lusikisiki in September.

Phaahla handed over a state-of-the-art clinic at Lutubeni village, near Mqanduli. He says the provision of quality health care at clinics is vital in addressing the challenges of unnecessary overcrowding at hospitals.

This clinic is part of the government’s National Health Insurance (NHI) programme.

Phaahla says the clinics will provide quality health care. “It’s fulfilling our promise to the people that we want to bring good quality health care services to the people at a very local level. It’s very spacious with all the necessary basic equipment. They do have a doctor visiting here. It’s got all the services, emergency services for mothers, for pregnant mothers for women. It’s a very comprehensive service and indeed we have always said that in order to provide universal health coverage we must address at the primary level first because if we can sort out, working with our people at the local level then we reduce even the pressure on the hospitals.”

Residents have welcomed the development but say reaching the clinic remains a problem for them.

“The services are really good but our clinics are very far. From Mancame to here I must pay 15 rand because the clinic is too far,” says one resident.

“There are many clinics around here that do not offer good services. We also know that this clinic will make no difference,” adds  another resident.