Chris Hani district health department chief director, Sindiswa Tywabi, has apologised to Ezibeleni residents for the closure of Nomzamo clinic on Monday because there was no water.
“We wish to apologise unreservedly as people expect to receive assistance when they present themselves to the clinic,” Tywabi said.
Residents were turned away from the clinic and some said they were told to come back when water was restored. It was, however, not clear when that would be.
Mlamli Golela, a local resident, said the nurses sent him away. “I went to the clinic for my finger to be stitched but I was chased away because (the staff) said there was no water. I asked whether they had reported the problem to the district office because I wondered what would happen if there was an emergency such as a big accident in Ezibeleni.”
Golela said the facility’s manager told him she had reported the matter and there was nothing more she could do.
“I have a septic injury on my finger. I cannot sleep at night and I am nervous. I am going to Frontier now, but when will I get back? They gave me attention the day before, but they now told me there is no water. Other residents were also chased away and the clinic was closed,” Golela stated on Monday.
A young woman who spoke to The Rep on condition of anonymity said: “I went to the clinic for help, but was told there were no services because there was no water – they said they would work when they had water. They did not even listen to the reason I came to the clinic, they just told me they were not working that day.
“I feel inconvenienced because this is the closest clinic in our area. Remember there are sick people out there – what will happen to them? I feel disappointed.”
Two teenagers aged 16 and 19 who had gone to the clinic for family planning were also turned away. “Today is my date but I will have to wait until they have water and come back,” said one of them.
In response to questions sent by The Rep, Tywabi explained that water challenges were rife in the area. “As you know, Ezibeleni has challenges with water supply and so do the clinics. Water tanks were installed to enable the facilities to function fully.
“However, there were challenges with the pump that makes it possible for the water to run to the inside taps. A service provider was identified by the infrastructure section to install the water pump, but failed to do so. Another supplier was then sourced, the pump has since been fixed and services are now running smoothly.
“On the day in question patients were diverted to Ezibeleni clinic while others were requested to come back the following day. Only patients who came for dental services were made to wait in anticipation of water becoming available during the course of the day. Sending away patients who could afford to come back the following day away was a good move in the light of Covid-19,” she said.