Residents of Mabule village, outside Mahikeng in the North West, have called on the Health Department to open their clinic 24 hours, seven days a week. They say their clinic only operates from eight to four during the week and it’s closed on weekends.
They say patients have to travel from far away places to get medical care.
Mabule village is 140 kilometers away from the capital, Mahikeng, with a population of over 2 800. Access to health facilities is a great concern. They do have a clinic, but it does not operate after hours, and is closed over the weekend.
According to the community, the clinic has only two nurses. When the clinic is closed — residents have to travel to Logageng village, 40 kilometers away or to Mahikeng to get medical attention.
The community representative, Thebe Oaitse, says they want the facility to be open every day.
“Our clinic operates from 8’oclock to 16 o’clock and if you need assistance after 16:00 the nurse wont assist you. We have to hire transport to go to Logageng, which is about R800. We need an ambulance in this clinic and there is a shortage of staff. We want urgent intervention in this clinic,” says Oaitse.
They are also concerned about the quality of care they receive. Some of the residents had this to say.
“Ambulance is not coming in our village and this clinic it is very big and it does have maternity ward and everything but it does not operate. We ask ourselves why.”
“We want the clinic to operate 24 hours and an ambulance should be there when it is needed.”
Provincial Health Department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane says they are addressing the concerns raised by the community.
“There will be a recruitment of additional staff to get the clinic to operate Monday to Sunday effective from 01 October. The community agreed to this commitment. The clinic closes at 16:00 and the district committee had to introduce in system, which means there will be nurses on standby to attend to calls. This is the commitment made despite the fact that the clinic is under utilised and most of the time the clock gets empty around lunch time.”
The department says it is committed to make sure the community has access to health care.