E14m CLINIC A WHITE ELEPHANT
…health facility remains non-operational due to government’s failure to construct a pit latrine and provide clean water
AE14 million completed and fullyfurnished Ikhwezi Clinic has remained non-operational for almost a year owing to government’s failure to construct a pit latrine and provide clean water.
This has led to residents of the area and surroundings questioning why government wasted millions constructing the health facility when it (government) had no plans to operate it.
The clinic is situated at Mcatfuvane. During a visit to the area on Wednesday afternoon, some residents who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said the clinic has not been operational for almost a year.
They said the construction and furnishing of the clinic consumed about E14 million.
The World Bank, together with the European Union (EU), assisted in construction of the health facility.
The 16-room clinic includes laboratory, tuberculosis, laundry, cleaners’, environmental, staff resting, dentist and medication rooms to name but a few.
It was constructed as a means to bring a health facility closer to residents and deal with diseases such HIV and AIDS and Tuberculosis.
Currently, health employees stationed in this facility are using a dilapidated structure while they await government to construct the pit latrine and provide clean water.
“The toilet is expected to have six rooms for females, five for males as well as two for staff,” a source said.
Attempts by the residents to construct the pit latrine were futile as after they had dug a huge pit using manpower, they were told that they should raise E300 000 for its construction.
It was agreed that each homestead should contribute E200 towards the construction of the toilet. Some of the residents forked out the contributions while some did not. The residents have also failed to secure sponsorship from independent donors. On the other hand, attempts to dig a borehole has failed to bring the desired results after about three attempts as there was still no water.
Worth noting is that the clinic is situated at the lowveld, which has always been hit by drought over the past years.
A source close to the matter also informed this publication that some of the drugs delivered at the hospital were set to expire next year. This includes the one used for diabetic testing.
This means costly stacks would be destroyed while government, on the other hand, has reportedly run out of essential drugs on numerous times during the year. Contacted for commenton on the matter, Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula, said the main challenge was the unavailability of water.
He said the ministry of health had tried all means possible to get water but failed. Dr Magagula went on to add that the current government fiscal challenges has also made things worse as the ministry cannot hire new staff.
“The intention is good because the people of the area need the clinic but what can we do?” Magagula asked rhetorically.
When asked if water assessments were done before the construction of the clinic, Dr Magagula responded to the affirmitive. He said all necessary assessments were conducted by relevant stakehold- ers, including the ministry of public works and transport.
On the other hand, he could neither confirm nor deny that the clinic was worth E14 million and that the pit latrine’s construction would cost around E300 000. He could only say he was yet to confirm with the ministry’s of health planners on the figures. He stated that there were three different plans with varying costs.
Dr Magagula emphasised that it was not government’s intention not to use the facility but it was something beyond their control.
“We wait and hope that things would be better so that we can be able to use the clinic,” Dr Magagula said.
The dilapidated clinic currently in use. (Pics: Fortune Ndlangamandla)
The water tanks where the staff source water.
The pit latrine dug by the residents.
A close shot of one of the staff houses.
A wide shot of the idle E14 million clinic.