CHW Attacked by Patient at Clinic


Early in the morning on 10 February a Community Health Worker was attacked by a patient inside the facility. The CHW, who was not attending to the patient, was sitting under a tree as CHWs do not have a room at the clinic facility.

A patient passed by the CHWs and entered Parkhome (Parkhome is a zozo) rooms where children and pregnant women consult. The patient then came out and threw a bag at one of CHWs accusing her of laughing at her.

The CHW, who did not want to be named was sitting down busy on her phone when the patient continued to attack her, now punching at her. At this moment the CHW fought back against the patient. Other patients started to make noise and clinic staff came outside to check what was
happening.

They found the CHW and the patient fist-fighting, they helped separate them. The patient said, “ngwana moloi, ke tlo go bolaya ga ke bowe KwaZulu-Natal, ke tlo go bolaya ge ke go bona motseleng”, which is Sepedi and means ‘I will kill you, you daughter of a witch, I’m not from KwaZulu-Natal. I will kill you if I see you in the streets’, the patient said this while spitting saliva.

The patient and the CHW were questioned about the reason for the fight and the CHW was told she cannot open a case against the patient as she fought back against the patient. She was further asked to stay far away from the patient.

CHWs are worried about their safety at the facility since they can be attacked by patients. There were no security officers around and what makes things worse the CHW is pregnant. If one patient can attack one CHW in the facility, it means they can attack others and nothing will be done about it. If the patient had attacked a ‘Sister’ or an admin inside the clinic there would be a case opened, however it is just a CHW.

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