Group threatens court action after inaction by department despite inspection by district clinic manager
Molteno residents are concerned about an abandoned and vandalised clinic building with medical supplies which poses a danger to children in the community.
This after a resident found a group of children of playing with needles and injection ampoules that they had found at the facility.
Injongo yesizwe domestic violence chairperson Lungile Futshane said: “The children are playing innocently, they are just practising what they have been witnessing about vaccinations.”
The Rep visited the site with Futshane. There were piles of needles, injection ampoules, pills, drips, face masks, files and confidential medical documents of patients, copies of identity cards and clinic cards scattered around in the building.
Futshane said he had informed the department of health about the matter, which led to the district clinic manager visiting the site to inspect it.
Because no action had been taken by the department yet, Futshane threatened to take the matter to court on account of negligence on the part of the department.
The vandals were able to access the building through the front door and the windows which were open at the back of the facility.
“I thought since they went to view the clinic they would act with a sense of urgency, especially in clearing up the confidential documents of the people, including copies of IDs.
“Imagine people going into the building and discovering information about community members who were living with HIV. Confidentiality is very important,” he said.
On Saturday, the street was frequented by children between the ages of about seven and 10 who walked in groups.
Futshane told The Rep the district clinic manager had approached EPW workers to clean up the mess, but they had refused and asked for the department to do its work.
“I was happy with their decision because the province will probably be shocked to learn that something like this has happened. She then said she would ask one of the town cleaners to clean up, but she also refused.”
According to Futshane, the clinic was closed by the department of labour about three years ago as the building did not comply with the health and safety standard requirements.
However, the information he received from some of the former clinic committee members was that R3m had been allocated by the department to construct a suitable building.
“The clinic used to accommodate Dennekruin, Lankgevag, the Old Location residents and those who lived on farms nearby.
“Residents, including the elderly, had to travel 10km to another clinic, but sometimes the people returned without receiving medication due to high numbers at the clinics.”
Mandisa Mcingana, who lives behind the clinic with her young children, said she tried to keep her children inside because of the danger.
“The building’s electricity box was stolen, as well as the computers. I am also concerned about the cut electrical wire coming from the pole and wrapped around a tree. It might contain live electricity,” she said.
Department of health spokesperson, Yonela Dekeda, said the clinic was closed by the department of labour in April 2019.
She said the clinic initially operated from the hospital, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the hospital needed the space that was being occupied by the clinic within its compounds.
“Through meeting engagements with the hospital board, the clinic committee, ECDoH Chris Hani district officials and ECDoH head office officials, it was resolved that the best solution would be to move both the Molteno Town Clinic patients and staff to the nearest facility, Ncedoluntu Clinic, which is 2.5km from the clinic.
”There is budget for this project in the 2021/2022 financial year for repairs and refurbishment for Molteno Clinic. ”The project will be implemented by DPW&I and the detailed scope of works and the Initiation Report for the project has been submitted to DPW&I,” she said.
She said the clinic was ”condemned by the DPW&I structural engineer because of space allowance and deteriorated building elements which have deemed the structural integrity of the building not suitable for repairs and renovations”.
“The approach that has been proposed to DPW&I is to procure a prefab building to be put within the hospital compounds and therefore reinstate the Molteno Town Clinic staff and patients to this prefab.”
Dekeda said the budget put aside for the project was R1.3m and not R3m.
“The hospital CEO and sub-district manager have been directed to inspect the site; and if there is any debris, that it be cleared immediately.”
She said there would be increased security patrols to protect the facility and community.