Failing health services in Thaba Nchu

THABA NCHU, WEDNESDAY 26th OCTOBER: Today 100 members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in Thaba Nchu will picket the dysfunctional state of health services at GAO Clinic and Moroka Hospital. The branch has received ongoing complaints of long waiting times, staff shortages, unclean facilities, and patients being sent home from the clinic without the medicines they need.

“GAO Clinic is facing many challenges,” says TAC Provincial Chairperson Oupanyana Mahutsioa. “It is clear that they are under-staffed at the clinic and under-resourced. People wait for hours on end without being seen. They arrive at 5am and sometimes leave 12 hours later without being seen. It is unacceptable. Without major improvements at a local facility level we can never see the Minister’s plan to treat everyone living with HIV become a reality.”

Additionally there have been recent complaints of shortages of medicines at the facility. Community members report to being sent home from the clinic empty handed. Shortages of medicines to treat chronic diseases, infections, and pain are a major threat to public health. The medical consequences, for instance, of people living with HIV defaulting or interrupting treatment can be grave, including drug resistance, decreasing immunity, increased risk of opportunistic infections and transmission of HIV and TB, ultimately leading to more illness and death.

Moroka Hospital is reportedly suffering from a major shortage of staff that is causing undue suffering and distress to patients.

“People are found to be lying in dirty nappies, in filthy linen that hasn’t been changed for days. The wards smell. We don’t see the cleaners doing their job,” said TAC Free State Woman’s Representative Dipuo Mosethle. “Worse some patients explain that they wait for days without being examined by a doctor. One patient told me he discharged himself after failing to seen by a doctor for two weeks. The system is in crisis.” 

One critical incident has been reported that a community member in need of urgent emergency medical attention died in the waiting room, because there were no staff available to treat him. 

Earlier this month, Dr Benny Malakoane was removed from his position as Health MEC of the province. While his removal from the health portfolio is a major step forward, we are under no illusion about the difficult task ahead of us to rebuild the Free State public healthcare system. We are committed to contributing to this rebuilding process in all its many facets.
We are committed to engaging with new MEC for Health Butana Komphela constructively to bring an end to the crisis in the public healthcare system in the province. TAC is picketing today to draw attention to such failures in the system. Our primary responsibility is to our members and to users of the public healthcare system. The situation in the Free State is desperate and requires urgent and serious intervention.

Details about the pickets:

08h00 – 10h30: Picket outside GAO Clinic

11h00 – 12h00: Picket outside Moroka Hospital

For more information contact:

Oupanyana Mohutsioa (TAC FS Provincial Chairperson) – 071 707 4127

Enoch Moware (TAC Provincial Manager) – 071 190 2545

TAC statement on the removal of MEC Benny Malakoane from the health portfolio from 3rd October:

TAC statement on ongoing hospital crisis in Free State from 14th September:

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