Ermelo clinic scores lowly on service efficiency

The suggestion box at Ermelo Clinic.
The suggestion box at Ermelo Clinic.

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The filing system at Ermelo Clinic.
The filing system at Ermelo Clinic.

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The suggestion box at Ermelo Clinic.
The suggestion box at Ermelo Clinic.

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GK CRONJE

6 July 2022

“Communities are continuously complaining that the healthcare workers are in the wrong or not doing their jobs."

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

Ritshidze, a system that offers community-led clinic monitoring, has release their report of primary healthcare in Mpumalanga, which leaves much to be desired. The institution noted that many facilities in the province experience severe staff shortages, amongst other serious issues. Ritshidze stated that the average waiting time per patient was more than four hours, which is unacceptable in light of the sheer volume of patients that require care. The delays were caused by lost files, staff shortages and inefficiency from staff. In 2021, Ritshidze reported that only 7% of facility managers at clinics in Mpumalanga said they had enough staff. The number increased to an astounding 41% in 2022. There is still a massive human resources gap, despite other marginal improvements that had been made, the report states.

A total of 74% of the facilities that Ritshidze monitored in 2021 had inadequate filing systems. In 2022, the number has improved to 38%. Ermelo Clinic, Amsterdam Community Health Care, Bethal Town Clinic and Embalenhle Community Health were amongst the bad apples that saw little to no improvement. The Democratic Alliance (DA) health spokesperson, Jane Sithole, stated that clinics and community healthcare centres are barely functioning due to long overdue maintenance, ranging from dysfunctional geysers and leaking roofs, to broken water pumps, which forced nurses to collect water in buckets to clean clinics.

“Communities are continuously complaining that the healthcare workers are in the wrong or not doing their jobs. What the communities don’t know is that it is not their fault, but it’s actually the MEC and the officials in the department who are failing to deliver on the basics to ensure clinics have things such as medicine and rotational doctors. Departmental health officials don’t have to face patients and their families, but it is healthcare workers who must deal with angry family members and it is understandable why healthcare workers are negative at times towards patients.”

Of the Mpumalanga Department of Health’s R16 billion budget for this financial year, R10 billion has been allocated to district health services, which clinics fall under. While tabling the 2022/2023 budget, MEC Sasekani Manzini stated that her department was determined to increase access to health services. “This is done through deploying mobile clinics to augment the 292 primary healthcare facilities, particularly in remote and rural areas. The department has 92 mobile clinics with 2 186 points that service these remote areas,” she said.