Pretoria: Residents of Soshanguve Block G in Pretoria have requested for more nurses to be employed at Clinic 2 to relieve one dedicated nurse who attends to patients living with HIV and Aids at the clinic.
The residents told Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu on Thursday that the nurse who checks and prescribes medication for them seldom go for tea breaks and lunch because she attends to more than 90 patients per day, alone.
MEC Mahlangu’s visit to the clinic formed part of the Social Cluster community visits and Imbizo which aims to focus on community concerns to improve service delivery in the province.
One of the female patients who spoke to SAnews said she was sitting in a long queue in the corridors of Clinic 2 just before 8am. She was only attended to before 2pm.
She said the clinic needed a bigger waiting area — to avoid sitting in the corridors — and more nurses needed to be employed since the demand was high.
“We sit in this small corridor all day. It is not nice because there is a lot of us and we have different illnesses, it is not healthy at all.”
Another patient told the MEC that she would always report for work late on the days that she comes to the clinic for treatment because the queues are always long. Sometimes she would not make it to work and would have to explain to her boss the next day.
MEC Mahlangu asked the management of the hospital to employ at least two more nurses to assist the one who attends to patients living with HIV and Aids, and consider working on weekends to make things easy for patients who work during the week.
About 8000 patients visit the clinic on a monthly basis, and most of them come from about six sections of Soshanguve, including Blocks F, G, H, H extension, AA, and CC.
MEC Mahlangu said about 2 800 patients get their Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) treatment from the clinic every month.
“We have expanded the HIV treatment to patients with CD4 count of 500 and below, and that is very commendable. It is important that people stay on treatment so that they can live longer,” she said.
The MEC said she found similar challenges in various clinics that she had visited and most of the challenges were basic and management related.
MEC Mahlangu said there was a need for public members to be taught about healthy living.
“People must eat healthy. We need to teach people about the impact that the food they are eating has on their bodies,” she said.
She was also concerned about teenage pregnancy. “We need to do more work in educating young people that they have got to stay longer in schools, they have got to abstain and really look after themselves until they at least finish high school,” she said.
She said it was more of a community responsibility to address issues of teenage pregnancy and not only government.
The clinic makes maternity referrals to Clinic 3 at Bock BB and also maternity and general referrals to George Mokhari Hospital. It offers comprehensive healthcare services, including family planning, dental services, mental treatment, and ARV and TB treatment, among other services.
Improving infrastructure, services
Although there are about four neighbouring clinics in the area, the community needs more health care facilities.
The structure of Clinic 2, which was built before 1994, is dated. MEC Mahlangu said the clinic needs to be revamped to accommodate the community.
She said more consulting rooms need to be built, modern equipment was needed as well as increasing staff complement.
“We are going to look at expanding infrastructure but also make sure that people are educated about lifestyle,” said MEC Mahlangu.
She said most clinics were built to render health care services to a smaller population about 30 years ago.
She said the overcrowding that is experienced in recent years at health care facilities is a result of an increased number of patients with lifestyle diseases like hypertension, HIV and Aids, heart related diseases and others.
“The pressure that the clinics are facing is as a result of diseases that are increasing, and most of them are preventable,” she said.
MEC Mahlangu chairs the Social Cluster that comprises Education, Arts and Culture, Human Settlements, Sports and Recreation and Social Development.
She also visited a number of service delivery points such as a police station, an early childhood development centre and a housing project in the area.