Villagers who rely on the dilapidated one-room All Saints Gateway Clinic in Ngcobo for primary healthcare have called on the Eastern Cape health department to build a new facility or provide mobile clinics.
Because the wooden structure only has one room, patients are forced to queue outside and wait their turn during hot, rainy and windy days.
The residents, who told Saturday Dispatch they had to dress warmly when going to the clinic, appealed to the provincial health department to come to their rescue.
The clinic has been operating from the small structure since 2010, after the church building they previously used was no longer available.
Because they have to queue outside, patients accused the health department of violating their rights.
Nowongile Nyudwana, 56, of Quthubeni village, said the situation was worse on rainy days.
“At least it is just cold today and we come here dressed warm. Besides having to wait outside, I have to wake up very early so that by the time they open I am here already, otherwise I will not get a taxi back home,” she said.
Nyundwana said even though they lived in a rural area, they deserved better.
“This must be the worst clinic in the whole country. It does not need to be renovated. It just needs to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch,” she said.
Partially blind 67-year-old granny Tokazi Pele did not see anything wrong with waiting outside as long as she was going to get medication for ailments.
“I understand that they do not have enough space inside to accommodate all of us,” said Pele in a soft voice broken by a persistent cough.
Bongeka Nojingxa, of Ntsalaba location, said it took her 30 minutes by taxi to get to the clinic.
“If they can provide us with mobile clinics the situation would be much better. I have never walked to come here. It is too far,” she said.
A nurse, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they found themselves between a rock and a hard place.
“Confidentiality is very important. We are not allowed to consult a patient in the presence of others, hence a decision was taken that they wait outside,” said the nurse.
Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said they were aware of the villagers’ plight and plans were afoot to address the matter.
“The department is in the process of procuring park homes for waiting and they are aiming [at] refurbishing the existing buildings in [an] old hospital so that the clinic can move there,” he said. — firstname.lastname@example.org