Residents of Mfuleni will no longer have to wait in long queues before they receive medical attention from nurses and doctors, thanks to the opening of the Mfuleni community day care centre on Tuesday July 26.
Although the day care centre will operate as a temporary clinic, residents have applauded its construction, saying it would play a critical role in bringing better health services to them.
The establishment of the clinic was in response to the numerous complaints from the community about the bad service they experienced at the old Mfuleni clinic which is still open.
Facility manager Hendrina Wilschut told Vukani that the idea of building a new clinic was largely due to increasing patient numbers, poor working conditions and space constraints at the old Mfuleni clinic.
Ms Wilschut said these conditions led to poor patient flow and experience, which impacted negatively on the quality of the health service they received.
She said numerous community meetings in 2013 between different stakeholders were held, aimed at bringing ideas to the table of how the clinic should be constructed and also finding a suitable place that would be accessible to the community.
“In February 2014, advocacy groups, concerned health managers and staff raised their concerns about the service to the health authorities while others used the media.
“The previous Western Cape MEC of Health, Theuns Botha visited the old Mfuleni facility in February 2014 and agreed that an interim facility should be erected to alleviate the plight of the Mfuleni community.
“The construction of the interim facility is in line with the strategy of improving infrastructure.
“The construction of a permanent clinic is expected to start between 2018 and 2019.
“Staff will also feel that they are valued within the Western Cape government if their working conditions are improved and it would boost their morale to render quality service to the people of Mfuleni,” Ms Wilschut said.
She said audiology and speech therapy services would be provided at the clinic, while patients requiring rehabilitation services will be helped at the clinic, instead of Eerste River Hospital.
She said that for the first time clinicians would be able to afford patients suffering from mental health the respect and dignity of a private consultation.
She explains that after the construction of permanent clinic, the temporary clinic would then be handed over to the City of Cape Town to use as a community hall.
Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, MEC of Health, officially opened the new day clinic last week.
She said the establishment of the clinic was in line with the department’s vision of bringing quality and better health services to township residents.
Ms Mbombo said it had been an eyesore to see scores of Mfuleni residents forming long queues waiting to see doctors or nurses and others were forced to approach the Eerste River clinic because their clinic was overcrowded.
She said that the population of the area had grown and the existing clinic had been battling to accommodate the people.
They hoped the new facility would reduce the burden faced by the staff of the old Mfuleni clinic.
“We therefore appeal to the residents to protect this facility because it is here to render services to them.
“We rely upon you in taking care of this facility and you should be the ears, eyes and voice of this community. If you destroy this facility, you will have to wait 10 years to get a clinic and at the end of the day, you are the ones who are going to suffer not us,” she said.
Former chairperson of Mfuleni community health forum, Violet Mnyimba, 67, said it was a blessing that the community has received a clinic even though it was a temporary one.
She said people will no longer have to wake up in the early hours to avoid long queues in the clinic.
“We are proud as the forum that we have also played a part in ensuring that the people of Mfuleni get this clinic.
“The organisation was launched in 1986 and it was the first of its kind in the province. I have been living in the area since 1975 and this is the proudest moment in my life.
“I say thank you to the MEC who I have mentored about issues of community health while she was still a student at the University of Western Cape, for remembering this community of Mfuleni,” she said.