Passionate fight to save ailing clinic

New Brighton resident Mkhululi Manzana is doing his bit to ensure the New Brighton Clinic runs smoothly
Picture: Brian Witbooi

Young volunteer takes concerns about facility plagued by problems to the highest level – without success

Mkhululi Manzana is an ordinary New Brighton resident with an extraordinary passion for his community – and he will not sit back and watch as the only clinic in the area is destroyed by neglect and thieves.

Driven by this passion and fears of what the community would become without proper healthcare, Manzana, 24, has vowed to do all that he can to ensure the New Brighton clinic runs smoothly.

He has appealed to the Eastern Cape Health MEC, written to the deputy president and volunteers at the clinic but despite all this, and promises made by the department in November, nothing changes, he said.

Problems facing the clinic include staff shortages, deteriorating infrastructure, a lack of equipment and medical supplies and an on-site pharmacist.

Inside the clinic, wires are exposed, the doors broken and walls cracked.

One of the few toilets does not work and a lack of storage space means boxes are piled up high.

Conditions at the clinic leave a lot to be desired

Manzana, who started volunteering at the clinic in September, has attempted to hold the Department of Health accountable following six burglaries.

“I have been calling and sending faxes to the office of the MEC. They have confirmed that they have received my complaints,” Manzana said.

“But when I ask what is happening with the clinic no one answers me.”

His claims are borne out by a slew of letters and acknowledgements from the department.

Manzana said he felt hopeless after promises were made by department officials at a meeting held at Dora Nginza Hospital on November 7.

“This clinic has been like this for the past two years. I decided to volunteer when I noticed that residents had become frustrated,” he said.

His duties at the clinic include recording and addressing patients’ complaints and ensuring that nurses feel safe at all times.

In his efforts to keep the beleaguered clinic open and functioning, Manzana spends his days assisting with administrative work and sometimes helps to file lab results.

Manzana has written to the office of the deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, asking for his intervention. He was directed back to the provincial office.

“If this clinic closes, we would have a major problem. More than 150 people come here daily,” he said.

Manzana said he had written to Ramaphosa as a last resort after the office of Health MEC Phumza Dyantyi failed to respond to his complaints.

“The worst part is that the MEC is not available to speak to us. This makes me angry and frustrated,” he said.

Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said they were aware of the concerns raised by Manzana.

“The challenges are being addressed but he has to appreciate these will not be solved overnight,” he said.

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