June 2018 2nd Edition

Community involvement in health care produces brilliance

Written by More Matshediso
The staff at Maphophoma clinic in Nongoma in KwaZulu-Natal are an example of how the community and public servant can work together to create excellence.

Maphophoma clinic received first place in the Ideal Clinic Realisation and Maintenance category during the KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo’s Annual Service Excellence Awards held recently.

Zinto Dube, who is the Primary Healthcare Manager for Nongoma sub-district, said this would not have been possible if the local clinic did not include community members in its programmes through Operation Sukuma Sakhe.

Operation Sukuma Sakhe is the KwaZulu Natal Provincial Government’s initiative that is characterised by continuous interaction between government and the community in order to come together and make service delivery more effective. It encourages social mobilisation where communities have a role, as well as delivery of government services in a more integrated way.

The clinic receives between 200 and 250 patients visit on a daily basis. It operates Monday to Sunday from 7am to 4pm. After hours the clinic only welcomes emergency cases as its staff members are always on-call.

Dube said Maphophoma Clinic prioritises clinic committee structures that involve Induna, community leaders and the youth for all programmes. She said the clinic is also uses the adolescent and youth friendly strategy to meet the health care needs of young people.

The clinic also has a Traditional Health Practitioners structure through which it encourages traditional healers to refer their patients to the clinic so that they can fight diseases together.

“Since we are in the rural areas a lot of people still strongly believe in getting help from traditional healers. We do not stop them from doing that but we ask them to visit clinics to get professional help and the local traditional healers do refer their patients to us,” she said.

“Team effort is also key in making everything work. The clinic does not have enough staff members but because there is a spirit of team work it is winning,” she added.

She said the staff at the clinic upholds Batho Pele Principles and are well orientated when it comes to patients’ rights.

The clinic also conducts a survey which allows patients to give feedback on service delivery. “We listen to patients and make changes whenever necessary,” said Dube.

In the wake of a violent protest that erupted at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital that saw workers vandalising parts of the hospital over unpaid bonuses last week, Dube said although health care professionals and other workers in clinics and hospitals have the right to go on strike they have no right to vandalise clinics and hospitals and they must always uphold their pledges of serving humanity.

She also said it was important for management of any healthcare facility to always listen to grievances of employees and try to offer support before things get out of hand.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Aaron Motswaledi also weighed in to condemn the strike at the hospital.

“People are allowed to go on strike, but there are rules that must be followed,” he said.

He condemned those who went into theatre to stop operations from being performed.

The Minister referred to the strike as a “sheer acts of hooliganism where people have gone mad against their fellow human beings.”

What is an Ideal Clinic?

It is a clinic in South Africa that will open on time and will not close until the last patient has been helped – even if it is beyond operating hours. It will ensure patients are treated with dignity.

It is a government initiative that is part of Operation Phakisa.

Through this, the public health sector seeks to improve the quality of health care provided at 3 500 primary health care (PHC) facilities, which consist of government clinics and community health centres.


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