TAC warns of mass protests at clinics
The Treatment Action Campaign has threatened massive protest action at clinics in the metro if the Eastern Cape Department of Health does not put a stop to long queues, staff shortages and the “unco-operative attitude of management”.
TAC deputy provincial chair in the Eastern Cape Thembisile Nogampula, said it had staged the first of its protests at the Silvertown clinic in Uitenhage last week.
“The staff shortages and the long waiting times are problems at every clinic,” he said.
“We were forced to take protest action.
“They tell us these facilities are compliant with health standards.
“They are not. “Everywhere there are long lines, staff shortages and items are out of stock.
“We are struggling to find out if there are stock-outs or if people just do not know about generic medicine.”
Nogampula said the TAC wanted to educate people about generic medication (copies of brand-name drugs).
“They complain that they are not getting ARVs but then they are getting generic medicine,” he said.
“Clinic management refuses to allow us to educate patients, but we have an agreement at provincial level that these clinics can be adopted by the TAC.”
Nogampula said unless there was a significant change in the attitude of clinic management it would continue with its protests.
In the TAC’s report on the state of provincial health, it published extensive data gathered from patients including:
● That 67% of clinics had insufficient staff;
● 41% of staff members were considered as “sometimes friendly” and 7% as not friendly at all.
Numerous patients reported bad staff attitudes affected their ability to access healthcare in these facilities.
● Patients waited for more than an hour to be seen in 19% of facilities and more than two hours in 33% of facilities.
Health spokesperson Lwandile Sicwetsha did not respond to a request for comment.