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Tue Oct 21 21:59:17 SAST 2014

NHI clinic operates out of a couple of tents

KATHARINE CHILD | 14 February, 2013 00:20
TTP8CLINIC14-13-02-2013-17-02-04-357-.jpg
Patients wait for their turn to be seen at a National Health Insurance pilot clinic in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape. The provincial department of health vacated its rented premises last year Picture: SECTION27

A clinic designated as a National Health Insurance pilot project less than a year ago is now operating in a "camp" without water, electricity or refrigeration for medicines.

The Lusikisiki Clinic, in the OR Tambo distric of the Eastern Cape, was shut down for two months and reopened in January - in a field on the far outskirts of the town. It consists of a mobile unit and two tents.

This is despite OR Tambo having received R11.5-million in extra funding as part of the NHI pilot project grant for the 2012-2013 financial year.

There are 10 NHI pilot districts.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced in March that the pilot projects would "strengthen the performance of health for the roll-out of the National Health Insurance".

NGOs Section 27 and Treatment Action Campaign visited the clinic last week and said about 200 people a day used one "filthy" toilet.

"There is no washbasin or running water near the single toilet," said Section27 lawyer Sasha Stevenson.

"Nurses are forced to use bottled water to wash their hands," she said.

After heavy rains in the area, one of the nurses slipped in the mud and broke her arm.

Stevenson said "patients had no privacy" and were attended to by nurses in one of the tents in front of other people.

The TAC's Zukile Madizikela said: "It's a disaster. It looks like a place where one goes to visit a sangoma."

He said the village clinic served 8000 people a month. It has been operating since 2000.

"Every year, money is budgeted and allocated to the clinic. Where is that money now? Where did it go?"

The building that housed the clinic for 10 years is owned by mine recruitment company Teba.

A senior manager at Teba, who asked not to be named, said the rent was R8000 a month.

"Despite the health department owing us money, they were not evicted.

"The department chose not to renew its lease. We are in discussions to recover the money the department owes us."

The NHI grant for the district budgeted R700000 for facilities for the current financial year.

National Health spokesman Joe Maila saidhis department was in discussion with Section 27 and the provincial health department.

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Tue Oct 21 21:59:17 SAST 2014 ::