Neglect and delays highlighted by DA oversight visits

A DA delegation recently visited Rethabile Clinic and was alarmed by some of the issues they uncovered.

POLOKWANE – There is still no indication that the Seshego Rehabilitation Centre, which was to have been completed in 2011 at a cost of R107 million, will be operational anytime soon.

Read more: Seshego Drug Rehabilitation Centre a first for the province

The DA has once against raised concerns regarding the situation, this following a recent oversight visit. In two press statements, Langa Bodlani (DA MPL) and Katlego Suzan Phala (MPL) raised concerns over not only this centre, but also circumstances at Rethabile Clinic in Polokwane.

According to Phala’s statement, the rehabilitation centre was expected to provide prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services for drug and substance abuse, to residents in the township and beyond.

The issues the party raised included the installed elevated tank which is not yet fully connected and installed; and the heat pumps which are yet to be installed.

The Department of Social Development in response, said the centre is not yet operational, but that the handover by the contractor was done on 20 September.

Issues still outstanding include:

• The structural quality assurance report outcome which involves the Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure, which was has been recently conducted.

• The outcome of the report shall inform the Department of Social Department about the readiness of the facility.

• Registration of the center as mandated by the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act 70, 2008.

Bodlani made the following comments regarding the visit to Rethabile.

“The DA was appalled to discover that the serious problems at this clinic are not being addressed. The clinic has longstanding problems and shortcomings that the provincial department of health simply has no plan to deal with,” he said.

Read more: Slow service still a problem at Rethabile Clinic

He listed the most serious shortcomings:

The clinic, that caters for an average of 700 patients a day, has an acute shortage of medical staff who are split between shifts and various sections and patients have to wait for many hours in queues before they are attended to;

• There are only two operating computers to deal with patient files in the entire clinic. Not even the acting manager has a computer;

• On average, 70 babies are born in the clinic every month, with only two midwives. They share one room divided only by a curtain. This severely compromises patients’ confidentiality and privacy;

• The kitchen in the maternity ward has also been turned into an anti-natal counselling room. There are only four prenatal beds and two delivery beds. There is only a passage for a waiting room for maternity patients;

• HIV consultation takes place in the general waiting area, with only a bare curtain used to demarcate the area;

• The building infrastructure is simply inadequate to deal with the volume of patients;

• The pharmacy does not have an operating license under the Pharmaceutical Council; and

• The supply by the depot to this clinic is so chaotic that it also affects the medication, especially chronic medication for the two old-age homes in Polokwane.

“The DA will therefore launch a petition, calling on the MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, to urgently intervene and ensure that these problems and shortcomings are resolved. Our people do not deserve this. We will do everything in our power to address this,” Bodlani said. At the time of going to print the Department of Health had not responded to questions regarding the situation at Rethabile Clinic.

You might also want to read:
Patients left to own mercy at Rethabile
Lack of medicine at Rethabile Clinic

Patients told to pretend they’ve been assisted

‘If you don’t want to help us, close your doors’

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Riana Joubert

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