Earlier this year on 7 April, Buhle, a Community Healthcare Worker (CHW) was raped by a man unknown to her, while she was returning home from the clinic facility after knocking off from work. Buhle (not her real name), stays at a fast-growing location called Coligny in Ditsobotla Municipality, near Lichtenburg in the North West province.
The incident was reported on the same day by the rape survivor, but the Coligny police told Buhle to go and report the case at Lichtenburg Police Station because it deals with such cases.
On 9 April Buhle’s colleagues visited her and she told them that still the police had not even visited. Only on 10 April 2021 did a policeman visit Buhle to get the necessary information to make identikit sketches.
On 20 April 20201 Buhle was called back to work although nothing has been said to give her assurance. There was no debriefing for her or her colleagues and when her colleagues, other CHWs at the clinic, questioned the management about her coming back without the proper debriefing or counselling, they were told that work policies do not allow her to be at home any longer. But they don’t know of any such work policies.
To the Health Department CHWs will always been regarded as working machines. They think nothing about our feelings or our fears, we must just keep on doing the good job for them.
This article was submitted on 31 May 2021 and first published in the Forum News May-June 2021 edition. 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.