Sunday, 14 April, 2024
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Study flags treatment of vulnerable groups at KZN health facilities

Vulnerable groups like sex workers, drug addicts, and members of the LGBTQ+ community are still being denied access to medicine, clinics and hospitals, and being treated with hostility in KwaZulu-Natal, according to a report released last week by community-led monitoring group Ritshidze.

On the up-side, however, waiting times have continued to reduce over the past year, from 2:39 hours to 2:18 hours waiting after the facility opens.

KZN continues to have the shortest waiting times out of all provinces monitored by Ritshidze. However, 34% of people still reported long waiting times, with 32% blaming disorganised filing systems.


While 82% of public healthcare users said staff are always friendly, in contrast, only 25% of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, only 22% of people who use drugs, only 37% of sex workers, and only 32% of trans people thought they were.

And the majority of key populations interviewed did not feel safe or comfortable at the facility, with many reporting major privacy violations, reports News24.

Poor treatment of key populations is among 10 key issues outlined in the third edition of the new State of Health report in KZN, which contains data collected in July and August 2023, and interviews with 126 managers at 129 facilities, with more than 7 000 public healthcare users and more than 3 600 people living with HIV surveyed.

One man, who used the KwaMsane Clinic in the King Cetshwayo District, Durban, accused nurses of laughing at him when he tried to seek medical care after being raped.

He said he went home without getting any health assistance like an HIV test or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

“I found out months later that I was infected with HIV, which could have been prevented if I had been given assistance at the clinic,” he said.

On a more positive note, more people living with HIV reported getting a three-month refill this year, up to 61%. While this is a welcome improvement, compared to 71% in Mpumalanga, and 80% in other Pepfar-supported countries, progress can still be made, said Ritshidze.




News24 article – Vulnerable groups ill-treated at KZN's public health facilities, report finds (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


KZN leads in some health services, lags in others – Ritshidze report


Staff shortages and long waiting times plague KZN Health


Durban’s health clinics are ‘falling apart’ — SAMWU





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