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Halfway House clinic staff talks about water challenges and staff shortages as alleged by local member

Ironically, when the clinic does not have water, the church and the school’s water supply remains uninterrupted, despite being on the same premises.

Following allegations of water shortages, the paper, together with Florence Mnisi, visited the Nizamiye Primary Healthcare Clinic on May 10 and 13, to ascertain whether the allegations were true or not.

The allegations were first brought to the paper’s attention by Mnisi, an Austin View resident.
And indeed, staff members who asked not to be named, outlined several challenges, which were initially declined by Johannesburg Health District and Johannesburg Water.

According to staff, the Halfway House-based clinic situated inside the Midrand Mosque premises, has experienced water shortages for over three months at times.
One member said they were short-staffed and as a result, overcrowding in the premises can be problematic as they try to get through each patient.
“Management is aware of all these challenges, but they are trying to sweep it under the carpet. At times, we as the nurses don’t even have water for the restrooms, and have to travel to either the nearest garage or Boulders Shopping Centre,” said one worker.

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Another worker said, “I am working here because I am looking for work and have nowhere to go. The working conditions here are unbearable. At times, you find administrators sweeping the floor because we are just short-staffed. Or a male worker, having to clean the women’s toilets when it is busy in the clinic.”

Mnisi said she goes to the clinic every month to collect medication. And if she wants to use the bathroom, she would rather drive back home to Austin View – about a 10-minute drive – than use the clinic’s facilities.

“Just walking along the clinic corridors, there is a strong, unpleasant smell that just makes you want to puke. I get medications here monthly, and every time I come here, there is always no water. The clinic is overcrowded as well and irrespective of how early I come, I leave late because they are short-staffed.”

She said she was flabbergasted when she visited the clinic on April 28, there was no water to drink or to wash hands after using the bathroom.

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One patient, who did not want to be named, said, “The service here is just poor. We come here because we have nowhere else to go and other clinics are far from us. And if you go to Midrand Clinic for instance, they will tell you to go back to Nizamiye because it’s the one for you.”

She said patients going to the clinic were at risk of getting the flu and spreading it further when they get home.

In an article, Water supply confusion at clinic, [Week ending 10 May], Johannesburg Health District spokesperson Sandile Gwayi said it was not true that the clinic has had no water. He said the clinic is on a prepaid meter and had a JoJo tank for a backup.

Amid these new allegations Gwayi was contacted on May 20 and 21, reminded again on May 23 and 27, but had not responded by the time of going to print.

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