Injured child turned away from Alexandra Clinic as generator was broken

A family in Alexandra township is mourning the death of their 4-year-old child who was injured on Wednesday this week in a car accident, but they were turned away from the Alexandra Health Centre at 5 pm after security guards told them the clinic had no electricity as the generator was not working.

According to the family, the child died from his injuries when they tried to take him to a hospital.

I have taken up this tragic case with Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi, and it has been confirmed that the generator is broken because it exploded during the frequent load-shedding.

While the investigation into this matter is continuing, it is inexcusable that a generator at a large clinic has been out of action for two weeks.

This highlights once again the incompetence of the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department which is responsible for the maintenance and repair of all generators at healthcare facilities.

Other health facilities in Gauteng that have suffered from failed generators include the Badirile and Thusong clinics on the West Rand, and the Far East Rand Hospital ran out of fuel for one of its generators two weeks ago.

Broken generators should never be a reason for turning people away from a health facility.

Constructive visit to Alexandra Clinic

I commend new Health MEC Bandile Masuku for our joint oversight visit to the Alexandra Community Health Centre last week on Friday afternoon which was constructive and will hopefully address long-standing problems.

See photos here, here and here.

This clinic used to be a NGO, but has experienced severe problems in recent years since it was taken over by the Gauteng Health Department in 2016.

We visited the casualty section where staff complained that there used to be a laboratory on-site to test blood but there are now delays as it has to be sent elsewhere for analysis. Additional problems are caused because the x-ray department does not operate after hours.

I am concerned by a shortage of doctors and allegations that some of the doctors don’t work their full hours. We met four community service doctors who are not receiving proper supervision and training.

Security is still a concern after a patient was stabbed to death in the Casualty last year in May. A young female doctor was recently attacked on a Saturday afternoon, and she has laid a charge against her assailant. The Department of Infrastructure Development has promised to do building alterations to enhance security but this has not yet happened.

There is also a long-running grievance by staff who claim that they are owed money for long-service.

It is important that this clinic functions well as it serves a large population. It offers services that include casualty, pharmacy, radiography, maternity, ante-natal and post-natal care, dentistry, psychology, social work, dietetics, rehabilitation and chronic care for a range of chronic diseases. Furthermore, it provides monitoring, treatment and follow-up programmes for TB, HIV, Hypertension and Diabetes.

MEC Masuku promised that he would follow-up on the concerns that were raised by staff and I will hold him to account on this.

Alex Clinic beefs up security to protect foreign doctors

SecurityJack Bloom DA Constituency Head - Johannesburg East

The Alexandra Clinic has beefed up security to protect its foreign doctors who stayed away over the weekend because of the xenophobic violence, which is why there was no doctor on duty to treat Mozambican Emmanuel Sithole when he was brought there after being attacked on Saturday morning.

I found this out when I visited the clinic yesterday to assess how patients are treated.

Foreign Doctors

The clinic has seven full-time doctors and seven sessional doctors, of whom eight are foreign, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It adds to the tragedy that Sithole did not receive prompt treatment that could possibly have saved his life because a foreign doctor was fearful to be at the clinic where he was first taken.

Many foreign doctors do good work treating South Africans in our hospitals and clinics, but they are also vulnerable to xenophobic violence.

Gauteng Health Department and Alexandra Health Clinic

Alexandra Clinic was founded in 1929 as a charitable enterprise, and for many years was reliant on large corporate donors.

They have increasingly relied on a subsidy from the Gauteng Health Department, and were taken over this month by the department which funds them about R53 million this year, and about R20 million for medicines.

I hope that the department increases their staff and facilities as the clinic is struggling to deal with more than 20 000 patients a month. It is estimated that 507 571 people live in the clinic’s catchment area.

It is really sad that the clinic has to spend extra money on security to keep its staff safe from xenophobic violence.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Constituency Head – Johannesburg East

082 333 4222

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