Nokubonga (not her real name) has been embarrassed every time she went to fetch her HIV/Aids treatment from the KTC Day Hospital, having to carry her “unique folder” whenever she visited the clinic.
On Wednesday February 28, Nokubonga joined hundreds of people, led by the Economic Freedom Fighters, (EFF) who picketed outside the clinic for better service.
The marchers voiced their unhappiness about the ill-treatment of HIV/Aids patients.
They also called for the employment of more doctors and nurses, the improvement of conditions at the reception area, cleanliness and general hygiene in the wards, and the improvement of hospital buildings, as well as provision of water and sanitation in the hospital.
“This is long overdue. I have never been this embarrassed. When you are positive, everybody knows your status here because your folder is different from others. That is discrimination and it needs to end soon. I salute the marchers and the organisers of this today.
“We need to tell the nurses that we are also like any other patients,” she told Vukani.
As calls for better service intensified, Nokubonga sang and danced with the sea of red berets as part of the party’s nationwide campaign for better services.
The party had declared 2018 as a year of quality public health care and service. It said it aimed to ensure that every citizen accessed quality healthcare without the resulting financial hardship.
The party said it planned to continue picketing outside health care facilities until the provincial government changed its attitude.
EFF deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, accompanied by the party’s provincial leadership, addressed the crowd. He called for adequate staffing at state hospitals and quality public healthcare.
“The mortality rate of black people is very high. It is easy for black people to die of curable diseases. Our clinics do not have the capacity. Part of our demands is to have clinics open for 24 hours (a day). We also want to raise concerns about the conduct of some of the nurses. They do not treat patients with care. They disclose their diseases. Health care workers do not respect patients,” he said.
Mr Shivambu called on patients to take pictures of those who ill-treated them. He said people should ensure that quality health care was rendered at public health facilities.
Dr Douglas Newman-Valentine, a representative of Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, and the facility manager, Lunga Makamba, received the memorandum from Mr Shivambu.
DrNewman-Valentine promised to pass it on to the relevant people.
Mr Makamba said while some of the demands were valid, most of them were not.
Mr Makamba said his facility had a complaints box but people have never complained. He denied that HIV/Aids patients were treated differently from others, and said the clinic would engage with more stakeholders and community structures to deliberate on some of the issues raised.