Through our over 200 branches, TAC monitors hundreds of clinics across the country. Our members are the people who need the public health system to work, so we are the first to notice when it doesn’t. The reality is that our clinics are failing to provide the healthcare we need.
Often we start queueing outside the gates as early as 3am, only to wait all day, to never be seen. We get to the clinic, only to be sent home empty handed without the medicines we need. In most cases the nurses are overworked and under-resourced. Often, they shout at us. Doctors are scarce. We wait in tiny rooms – if we are lucky – or sit outside without shade or seats even if we are elderly or sick. When we eventually get seen, in some clinics all the patients can see and hear our consultation. In some clinics colour coded folders separate people living with HIV from those who don’t. The buildings are often falling apart. We use pit latrine toilets. Equipment is missing or broken. Our files goes missing. We wait years for pap smears, or the results of tests. We get TB because the windows are never opened and no-one gives out masks to those coughing. The clinic committees we rely on to solve these problems either don’t exist, or don’t know what they should do.
This is unacceptable. Our clinics are in crisis. As part of our greater “clinics in crisis campaign” each TAC branch has launched a local campaign to turn this situation around. By organising locally, our branches will demand accountability and quality healthcare services where they are needed.