Patients at Orange Farm Extension 7A Clinic, in Orange Farm (south of Johannesburg), usually get to the facility at 5am and start queueing outside because the services are so slow. And now because of COVID-19 regulations only a few people are allowed to enter inside the clinic, and most stand outside.
When patients usually arrive at the facility, there is no one who attends to them because it only operates from 7am untill 4pm. Patients often don’t keep a physical distance from each other because there is no one to remind them and everyone stands in the same line, although they come for different reasons.
On the cold Wednesday morning of 21 July 2021, patients queued outside as usual, and waited for the facility to open in order to get the health services they needed. While patients were still standing outside waiting, a pregnant woman standing in the queue started to feel labour pains. Katlego (not her real name) did know what to do, and hoped that someone would come from the clinic and assist her. But the pain gradually started to become stronger until she was unable to hide it. Everyone in the queue saw and they screamed for help.
The clinic security guard heard their screams and allowed the woman to come inside the clinic gates around 7am while they waited for an ambulance. The situation was worse by then and Katlego was unable to cope anymore. After a few mins, another patient who had been helping Katlego while they waited ran to the security for help, who quickly took them to an empty guard’s room. With the help of the patients who had stood in line with her, Katlego gave birth in this cold room, with no bed, blanket or safe, clean place, during the time of COVID-19.
The ambulance finally arrived an hour after it was called. Residents of the area complained about the poor services of both the ambulance and the clinic facility. Some even noted that the ambulance arrived much quicker this time because it was called to come to the clinic but if residents call from their homes the ambulance arrives late and sometimes it doesn’t came at all.
“This clinic is not suppose to be the only one servicing all the wards [wards 1-5]. There must be other health facilities in these wards and it must have 24 hours service,” Katlego said a few hours after the ordeal.
She angrily added that in her experience the clinic staff are lazy and unhelpful. “They only know to drink tea and gossip. They don’t their work but they get paid, while people who want to work are at home, jobless.”
The clinic facility manager said “this incident was not supposed to happen because patients are told that… they should not come to this facility if they are in serious pains, as this is only for primary and minor illness. There are no wards for delivery and other major illnesses.”
“We also refer to other facilities like Stredford, Lenasia and Barangwanath,” she concluded.
The name of the author of this article has been protected. This article was submitted on 4 August 2021. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article (https://karibu.org.za/patient-forced-to-give-birth-outside-clinic-in-orange-farm/).