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‘Red flag clinic not fit for human use’

President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed the National Health Insurance Bill into law to bring equal health services for all – but some residents still don’t get basic medical attention.

Residents of Nelson Mandela Bay’s “forgotten” Colchester community are an example of this inequality. They are forced to travel 40km to receive health services because the population is not big enough to have its own clinic.

The community, situated on the banks of the Sundays River on the outskirts of Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, is serviced once a week on Wednesday by a mobile clinic in a neglected building with holes in the ceiling and doors and no water or even electricity.

The rest of the time, residents often have to pay to travel 40km to Gqeberha to receive medical attention.

According to Jane Cowley, the DA’s shadow health MEC, residents must wait several days for an ambulance to arrive.

“But in most instances, the ambulances do not arrive at all. It is simply unacceptable that state patients are treated with such disdain!” Cowley said.

She labelled the Colchester clinic a “human rights red flag”.

“The building which houses the weekly mobile clinic in Colchester is not fit for human use and should either be repaired immediately or condemned,” she added.

Cowley said she would write to the health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth to urgently press her to ensure that the building is made compliant with health norms and standards.

Meth’s spokesperson, Mkhululi Ndamase, had not responded to questions by Scrolla.Africa by the time of publication.

Last year, because of Colchester’s low population, the department had yet to make plans to introduce a daily clinic service to the community.

Community leader Godfrey Jacobs said the mobile clinic sometimes misses two or more weeks, which delays patients’ medication.

The department said that patients were given at least two months’ supply of medication at a time.

Pictured above: The Colchester clinic has holes in the ceiling and no water or electricity.

Image source: Supplied