Concerns raised at health imbizo

People who attended the imbizo.

Khayelitsha residents complained about poor service at public health facilities at an imbizo spearheaded by the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI) and the Department of Health last Thursday.

This annual imbizo focused on health problems facing the area with the intentions and hope of finding solutions while strengthening relationship between health care facilities and residents.

Various stakeholders including, Site B Khayelitsha Community Health Centre , Khetha non-governmental organisation, City of Cape Town, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), and other stakeholders brought their services.

David Binza, facility manager at Site B Khayelitsha Community Health Centre (CHC), said the aim was to bring services to the community of Khayelitsha while giving them a detailed explanation about health services. But most importantly, he said such platforms give the community a voice to raise their concerns and complaints.

He said it was important that the community understood some of their efforts to address the endless challenges facing the clinic and some of the interventions they have implemented.

Mr Binza said the imbizo was not only focused on health issues but also wanted to bring other services. He said they discovered that residents did not understand how to access other services therefore they invited other service providers to this programme.

Mr Binza said dire living conditions, poverty and a high unemployment rate were some of the issues that affect Khayelitsha residents. He said through interventions such as the imbizo, people are becoming aware of the importance of leading a healthy and more responsible lifestyle.

He said people appreciate the imbizo and he hopes that this could be done more often. “We want to improve our health services. There are many issues impacting on us rendering the health service, indirectly or directly. Residents know who attack ambulances and if we could have strong relationships with the community, we could stop these senseless attacks. We have managed to decrease the long queues at the clinic but we want to have a situation where people do not have to wait for before they can see a nurse. We are no longer turning people away from clinics because of overcrowding. The partnership we have created with these stakeholders has helped us tremendously in eradicating major challenges,” he said.

Mr Binza said he hoped more stakeholders will partner with them so that they could work hand in hand.

Zandile Ciko, UCT public engagement manager, said the main reason CIDRI-Africa continues to support the health imbizo is to maintain their good relationship with the community of Khayelitsha.

She said they shared the progress of current clinical trials while updating the community on TB and HIV developments and disseminate the results of completed trials which the community have volunteered to be part of. She said 163 people joined the M72/AS01E study at the CIDRI-Africa site located at the Site B CHC. Ms Ciko said the researchers took the study where there is the greatest need for a TB vaccine.

Nokuthula Yiwa said they hoped that imbizos like these could improve the service at the public health care facilities. Ms Yiwa said the service at many of these public services were appalling and horrible compared to those in the private sector.