Af­fected pa­tients and hawk­ers de­cry Ndlovu’s clo­sure

African Times - - News - MASHUDU SADIKE

For Easter Masemola, the po­ten­tial clo­sure of Ndlovu Care Group fa­cil­ity in Moutse near Den­nil­ton in Lim­popo is a dou­ble blow. Masemola, who has been liv­ing with HIV for over a decade and makes a liv­ing sell­ing take away food op­po­site the fa­cil­ity, is un­cer­tain about her fu­ture pend­ing the clo­sure of the Non-Profit Or­gan­i­sa­tion which ren­ders HIV/Aids and TB ser­vices in the area on be­half of the Lim­popo Depart­ment of Health.

She says that the only place that pro­vides for her health needs while also boost­ing her in­come is about to come to a sad end.

The un­em­ployed mother of two left her vil­lage and fam­ily near Tafelkop, years ago, to find bet­ter health­care and a bet­ter liv­ing in Moutse.

“I am wor­ried about my fu­ture here if this place closes be­cause I ben­e­fit a lot from the peo­ple who come to buy my food. When I first came I was sick to a point that I couldn’t walk, and six months af­ter com­ing here, I could start do­ing things for my­self as I was bet­ter.

“I even got my­self a stand to be near here so I can be closer to the health fa­cil­ity and started my food busi­ness which is boom­ing be­cause of all kinds of peo­ple that come here. I’m not happy with the de­ci­sion of the court be­cause this place takes care of us,” Masemola said.

Her or­deal started two weeks ago when The Polok­wane High court ruled that the Lim­popo Depart­ment of Health had the right to ter­mi­nate Ndlovu’s R14 mil­lion a year con­tract and start a process of trans­fer­ring pa­tience to the nearby hos­pi­tal and clin­ics in and around Den­nil­ton.

“I don’t un­der­stand this trans­fer let­ter that I have re­ceived be­cause I would be go­ing back to the same clin­ics that I’d have to wait three months be­fore I get ARV treat­ment. I was told by doc­tors that I can’t skip two days with­out the med­i­ca­tion. What should I do now?” asked Masemola.

This is the plight of 3 800 pa­tients that rely on med­i­cal care rang­ing from ARV treat­ment, chronic med­i­ca­tion to di­a­betes and TB med­i­ca­tion that Ndlovu pro­vides and are dis­ap­pointed with the court or­der. They say they will fight to the grave to make sure they are not trans­ferred from the fa­cil­ity.

Speak­ing to African Times in Isin­de­bele, Jean­neth Sikhosana, who is also liv­ing with HIV opened up say­ing that she would rather travel long dis­tances to Ndlovu than have to go to a pu­bic clinic in Kwa-Mh­langa where she re­sides.

“I tried for years to get proper care at a clinic near my house in Mh­langa. I came to Ndlovu in some­one’s arms be­cause I could not walk and was very sick and six months later I was able to walk for my­self be­cause I get proper treat­ment here. I did not get proper treat­ment in a gov­ern­ment clinic and nearly died. What is the gov­ern­ment do­ing to us?” asked the woman in tears.

Spokesper­son for the Lim­popo health Depart­ment, Neil Shik­wambana, says the fears of Masemola and oth­ers are with­out ba­sis be­cause Ndlovu had been dis­tribut­ing ARV treat­ment on be­half of the gov­ern­ment. He says the depart­ment now has the ca­pac­ity to ren­der the same ser­vices. How­ever, he ad­mits that there could have been a bet­ter con­sul­ta­tion process with the com­mu­nity of Moutse.

“We now dis­pense about 38 000 ARV treat­ment in the whole of the prov­ince sim­ply be­cause we have ca­pac­ity to do things on our own and can’t use money that could build more clin­ics and im­prove ser­vice de­liv­ery. We learn ev­ery day and could have spo­ken to the com­mu­nity bet­ter.

“The is­sue of stigma is very com­plex be­cause you find pa­tients go­ing to a far­away clinic so that those that are close to their homes are un­aware of their sta­tus or sick­ness,” Shik­wambana said.

It’s not the first time the com­mu­nity of Moatse is in­volved in a le­gal bat­tle with the gov­ern­ment. The com­mu­nity was also in a bat­tle over a gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion to move Moutse to Mpumalanga as part of the de­mar­ca­tion is­sue a few years ago.

Ndlovu’s Hu­man Re­sources Di­rec­tor, Poppy Mashamaite, said that they could not com­ment as they had not con­sulted with their lawyers.

Easter Masemola has been liv­ing with HIV for over a decade

Jean­neth Sikhosana from Kwa-Mh­langa trav­els long dis­tances to Ndlovu for her treat­ment.

The town­ship of Moutse near Den­nil­ton in Lim­popo where the Ndlovu Med­i­cal Cen­ter is sit­u­ated.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.