The residents of Helenvale in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape have embarked on a cleanup campaign at the Helenvale Clinic in an attempt to get the only clinic in the area, to reopen.
The clinic has been closed for two years due to gangsters and several shooting incidents, which posed danger to staff and patients at the clinic.
Residents, mostly women, opted to get their hands dirty by cleaning around the clinic. They are pleading with the Eastern Cape Department of Health to intervene and bring back the much-needed health care service to them.
They have been pleading for the reopening of the health facility for nearly two years now because it’s the only one in the gang-ridden area. They say elderly residents, pregnant women, and children walk more than three kilometers to reach the nearest clinic and many are often robbed along the way.
“I cannot go anymore to Malabar; it’s so far. Sometimes I don’t have money for taxi fares; I have to take two taxis. Sometimes there is no transport that is why my concern is to clean here, help to open the clinic; it’s a distance for me to get any treatment. I have high blood; I must get my treatment every month, “says one of the residents Lena Stuurman.
Residents explain how the closure of the clinic has affected them: