The SA Human Rights Commission says no action has been taken against Pretoria clinic officials who turned away a heavily pregnant woman who ended up giving birth outside the gates. The Times quotes Gauteng manager at the commission Buang Jones as saying that the Stanza Bopape Community Health Centre in Mamelodi was not up to standard.
“There is no proper ventilation, the clinic does not have a quality assurance manager. The manager of the facility was conveniently not present,” said Jones after visiting the clinic. He said that there was sufficient land adjacent to the clinic that could be developed to expand the facility, “as the maternity ward is too small. No filing system. Staff shortage. Maternity ward only has eight beds. Only two midwives and a student nurse. No administrative support, (they) only have one computer.”
He said some nurses were burnt out, while there is no doctor at the facility and patients were not assessed prior to treatment.
“There are many challenges. We will send formal correspondence to the department of health into the health facility as a whole. There’s a need for an urgent funded plan to address the challenges. Most of the healthcare facilities are in a dire state,” Jones is quoted in the report as saying.
Elina Maseko, who lives in an RDP house in Mamelodi, was on her way to hospital when a neighbour’s car ran out of petrol close to the clinic on 30 June. She was allegedly turned away and told to go to Mamelodi Hospital without being examined.
The report says Maseko, 45, allegedly gave birth outside the clinic with the assistance of a relative. Although she is recovering well, she can’t understand why she went through the ordeal. “Precious (the baby) is healthy and okay. I was in the hospital because my blood pressure was high as a result of the treatment. I want to forget about it. But I always think about it, it haunts me. I didn’t deserve that treatment, no one does,” Maseko said.
She said the healthcare officials at the clinic had no regard for her and the baby. “I want them to lose their job. They clearly don’t know how to care for people. “I’m not happy. This has never happened to me. I can’t forget how I cried out to my niece asking if my child was alive.”
The commission launched an investigation into the incident.
The report says the Gauteng Health Department also launched an inquiry into the matter.
But the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is calling for compensation and accountability from Gauteng Health. Mamelodi TAC chair Bobby Mohanoe said in a report in The Times that they would exhaust all measures until the National Nursing Council investigated and struck those found guilty from the roll. “We don’t want the department of health to suspend them but to actually fire them. They should also give support to the family,” said Mohanoe.
The family said the local police station had called them and informed them that their case was not valid after the TAC took the family to the police station to open a case last week. “We are frustrated by the SAPS. When we took the family to the police station to have the case reopened, it took more than five hours. They failed to have the case opened initially because they didn’t know what kind of a case it is,” Mohanoe claimed. He said the alleged incident was a violation of the National Healthcare Act.
The report says he also slammed nursing unions for “always” climbing on the bandwagon in support of the practitioners without consideration of the violations. Mohanoe did not divulge the names of the unions.
The report says Maseko, who gave birth to baby Precious, broke down in tears as she spoke about the ordeal. “It’s shocking how women would treat another woman. The system is supposed to protect us and give us dignified care, but then who am I? You get traumatised. I mean, imagine how scared I was after giving birth and I was asking my niece if my baby was alive,” said Maseko.
She admitted she was not so keen on counselling as she trusted she would heal on her own. “Precious (the baby) is healthy and okay. I was in the hospital because my blood pressure was high as a result of the treatment. I want to forget about it. But I always think about it, it haunts me. I didn’t deserve that treatment, no one does,” Maseko said.
She said the healthcare officials at the clinic had no regard for her and the baby. “They clearly don’t know how to care for people. I’m not happy. This has never happened to me. I can’t forget how I cried out to my niece asking if my child was alive.”
The report says Bongile Murudu, who played midwife for her aunt, said she was shocked by the lack of care at the clinic. And the father of the baby, Thomas Rakhavha, said he was relieved his family was safe and healthy. “I just want all of this to go away so I can forget it all. It’s not nice. No one wants to feel unimportant like that, it hurts that I could have lost them over this,” said Rakhavha. He was also “grateful for their lives, that’s all”.