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New Report Shows More Bad News than Good in Public Healthcare System in North West

By Neelam Rahim

A new report on the state of the public healthcare system in the North West is more of a bad news scenario than good news. Ritshidze says in the newly released report that there was an improvement in specific indicators and deterioration in others since last year. This impacted the overall quality of HIV, TB, and other health services. Ritshidze is a programme of the PLHIV Sector, made up of the National Association of People Living with HIV, Positive Action Campaign, Positive Women’s Network, the South African Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

In discussion with Radio Islam International is TAC’s Ndivhuwo Rambau.

According to Rambau, PLHIV conducts community-led monitoring, which is one of the enormous community-led monitoring efforts in the world currently.

She says, “We monitor HIV and TB services in the country, including 400 facilities across eight provinces. PLHIV sector found that we still have a high number of people initiated on RVS’s who start their treatment and then default on treatment.”

She continued to tell Radio Islam that findings on data collection in communities included a lot of defaulters indicating that it is always a struggle to attend clinics due to the long waiting chairs, the staff attitude that people encounter when going to the facilities as well as long waiting time for collection of treatment which becomes a full day activity instead of taking one to two hours. 

In realisation of the issues causing the deterioration amongst our public Health facilities, Rambau mentions that they go and monitor these clinics and try to come up with innovative solutions to improve the clinic conditions within the monitored facilities. 

According to Rambau, the North West clinics were reported as relatively clean. Around 77% of patients indicated that the facilities are clean when they do visit them. This puts North West some of the best provinces in terms of cleanliness. However, there are some severe challenges in terms of infrastructure, and patients have to wait outside in some overcrowded clinics.

She says community members have indicated that many people flock to the clinic, which means that quite a lot of overcrowding affects TB infection control. We are still living with Covid, which also impacts.



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