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Something to hide? DA's Cassim claims he was denied access to Algoa Park clinic

Jun 29, 2018
Something to hide? DA's Cassim claims he was denied access to Algoa Park clinic

The Democratic Alliance's (DA) Yusuf Cassim, who is an MP and the Ngqura Constituency Leader, says he will be writing to the Eastern Cape MEC for Health, Helen Sauls-August, after he was apparently prevented from conducting his oversight responsibilities at Algoa Park Clinic, in Algoa Park, Port Elizabeth, on Thursday.

He blames the District Health Director, a Mrs Gerda, and wants her investigated.

"During an attempted health oversight inspection at the Algoa Park Clinic in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, I was informed that Mrs Geda, had specifically instructed that I not be allowed to perform oversight at the clinic," Cassim said.

"This action is an assault on the constitution, the people’s representatives and democracy. People are dying in our clinics, yet public representatives, who are elected to be the eyes, ears and voice of South Africans, are being arrogantly blocked from doing the peoples' bidding. This begs the question, what is the ANC-government and the  Eastern Cape Department of Health trying to hide?

"Ironically, Mrs Geda, who has been in her position for two months, has never set foot in the New Brighton Clinic. This while people are queuing for over 5 hours to access basic healthcare."

Cassim said that over the past two days, he conducted announced and unannounced oversight inspection to three other clinics in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and was joined by DA-councillors Sebenzile Rafani, Sam Beynon and Mxolisi Manyati.

"Clinics in NMB, under the management of the ANC-led Eastern Cape Department of Health, are failing the residents of the City. My inspections at the clinics in KwaMagxaki, KwaDwesi and New Brighton highlighted long-standing issues that we will be taking up on behalf of our communities," he described.

"All of these clinics have a shortage of Doctors, nurses and pharmacy assistants. Staff shortages are compounded by dangerous, crumbling and overextended infrastructure which creates a hazardous environment for staff and patients alike."

Cassim said that some of the issues identified during the oversight visits are:

KwaMagxaki Clinic:

• No pharmacy assistant for at least the past 8 years;
• A doctor only visits the clinic every Friday for 4 hours;
• The clinic has no space for a pharmacy and medicine is stored in the kitchen;
• There is no guard house for security officials; and
• There is a request for road signs to direct people to the clinic.

New Brighton Clinic

• The manager does not want to work at this facility;
• Curtains are being used as linen due to the shortage of linen;
• Waiting times for patients exceed five hours due to a shortage of professional nurses;
• The infrastructure is ailing; and
• There is a shortage of cleaners creating an unhygienic environment.

KwaDwesi Clinic

• Many infrastructure issues exists, such as dangerously cracked walls;
• No designated area for HIV testing and counselling;
• No separate waiting room and treatment area for TB patients; and
• Missing door to refuse cage leads to an unsanitary environment, as this causes stray dogs to come onto the premises.

"The most devastating story that we discovered is that a resident died tragically and unnecessarily last month. An ambulance called from Livingstone Hospital, failed to arrive for the entire day. The clinic manager had to drive the resident to the hospital where he died of dehydration upon arrival," Cassim said.

"No South African should be dying of dehydration under a responsible and caring government.

"I will write to the MEC Sauls-August to request feedback on plans to improve the situation at all four clinics."

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