Free State Health Crisis: Batho Clinic in shambles

Mariette Pittaway MPL

DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature

As part of the DA’s commitment to quality and equitable healthcare for all in the Free State, we conducted an oversight visit at the Batho Clinic in Bloemfontein yesterday afternoon.

What we found at Batho Clinic was shocking, but not surprising, given the extent of the Free State Health Crisis. We encountered the following problems:

  1. The Batho Clinic has not had electricity supply since May 2014. The disruption in electricity supply came as a result of vandalism and theft. The Provincial Department of Health has done nothing to repair and replace stolen and vandalised infrastructure.
  2. The safety and security of patients and staff alike are at risk since the department failed to make provision for daytime security and night time security is sporadic.
  3. ARVs and TB medicine must be stored at a certain temperature and as a result of the clinic not having electricity, HIV and TB patients have been forced to access treatment at Mmabana Phahmeng Clinic which is not in walking distance from Batho. The Batho Clinic can only assist chronic patients and can accommodate family planning.
  4. The clinic has not received any medical cleaning detergents since June 2014.
  5. More than half of the clinic is in disuse due to an unstable ceiling.
  6. The new toilets constructed in the new wing are in disuse because the contractor installed the wrong sized pipes.

Moreover, there are rumours doing the rounds that the Batho Clinic might be closed, leaving the people of Batho without access to immediate primary healthcare. It will also add to the misery of the ill and the infirm having to travel longer distances to access healthcare at an additional cost. It will also increase the burden on other community healthcare facilities in other areas.

This is the state of affairs in the public health system in the Free State while MEC Malakoane and Premier Magashule remain in denial.

I will submit written questions to MEC Malakoane at the next available opportunity to ascertain the future of the Batho Clinic and whether any repairs to the infrastructure of the clinic has been planned and when repairs will be completed.

The DA will not rest until every Free State resident enjoys quality and equitable healthcare services.