The Ext 28 Clinic in Vosloorus South (on the Eastrand of Gauteng) is a small clinic based in the Ext 28 area. The clinic is a municipality facility, and has staff from the Ekurhuleni municipality and the provincial government. The clinic staff include: 10 professional nurses, 3 counsellors, 2 data capturers, 5 EPWP (Extended Public Works Programme) cleaners, 22 Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs), 2 security guards and the gardeners. Recently, the Health Department added 10 new EPWP workers who do any and all kinds of work.
The treatment of patients by staff at the clinic is not good and some patients’ files have been lost. Oftentimes when CHWs go to the community for their follow-ups the patients complain about the way they have been shouted at by the staff of our clinic. Even though some patients have reported this mistreatment, to the clinic manager, things are still the same and those patients’ files continue to be lost when they need them.
At Ext 28 Clinic, the facility opens at 8 o’clock but you will find patients who woke up early that morning standing outside the clinic yard waiting to be served long afterwards.
The staff often do not respect the patients’ confidentiality and the reason I say this is because they even ask EPWPs to come into a room where there is only supposed to be the sister and the patient. While a consultation is happening, you can find other people like cleaners and counsellors busy talking about their own things there, forgetting that the nurse is asking the patient some sensitive questions.
Ext 28 clinic does not do COVID-19 vaccinations but sometimes they do the COVID-19 testing for suspected cases and every Monday the clinic is fumigated as a precaution. The clinic does experience staff shortages a little bit, but twe are managing well.
Most of the time the CHWs’ team leaders are told by the manager that the clinic doesn’t have any cleaning materials for CHWs, and that the clinic is even short of toilet paper. But when you enter their offices and private rooms, everything is there but not for CHWs. The CHWs are not given Personal Protective Equipment all the time as the clinic doesn’t have the materials and they supposed to order it, according to the Outreach Team Leaders.
In my clinic, CHWs clean their workspace themselves while the rest of the clinic staff refused to clean the place. The CHWs workspace often ends up being used as storage for broken materials and registers of the clinic.
The tracing system of Aurum that was previously being used in my clinic is no longer there as their contracts have ended, according to the management. This has meant that CHWs have had to do this work. The Department of Health gave the CHWs uniforms but the uniforms are so poorly made with cheap material. So because CHWs want and need to look good, they bought their own better quality uniforms so they can look good and presentable while working.
The treatment of different staff is not the same at our clinic and CHWs are still mistreated a lot, even though they are now permanent.
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