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Angry residents shut down clinic

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The community threatened to keep the clinic closed until the Department of Health provided more staff as well as stocked up on medication at the facility

GREENPOINT community members have voiced their anger at the lack of dental services at their local clinic and blockaded the entrance to the health facility with burning tyres yesterday.

“We are tired of being told that there is no dentist to help us. Instead, we are instructed by the sisters to mix Vaseline with headache powders to make ‘stinksalf’ at home and treat ourselves,” said one community member.

“However, we cannot even blame the sisters because the clinic is always running out of medication.”

The residents stated that they had resorted to closing the clinic as a result of the “no-care attitude” of the Northern Cape Department of Health.

According to the residents, there was no dentist available yesterday for Tuesday’s dental clinic, while there were only two sisters manning the health facility.

The community threatened to keep the clinic closed until the Department of Health provided more staff as well as stocked up on medication at the facility.

They further called on the MEC for Health, Mase Manopole, to improve service delivery at the clinic in terms of the commitment she made to the community in April 2019.

According to the community, the MEC engaged with them when she introduced Premier Zamani Saul in April last year and this was the last time they had seen her.

The residents pointed out yesterday that dental services had deteriorated over the past few months.

They claim that the dental clinic only started operating this month after it closed in December last year.

One resident, Janet Jacobs, said that there had been a drastic decrease in the number of dental patients that are attended to.

“The target in February was 20 patients every Tuesday, but this dropped to seven because there were insufficient needles available. The number of patients then dropped to four and currently the dentist is not even coming any more.”

Jacobs said dental patients started queueing at the clinic from as early as 5am in the hope of making the Tuesday dental list. “But we continue to be turned away and told that the dentist is not coming.”

Another complaint raised was that dental patients from Beaconsfield Clinic were referred to Greenpoint, adding to the long queues.

The residents also pointed out that schoolchildren were missing school to see the dentist, only to be sent back home.

A community member said that her child had not been able to attend school since last week because of a severe toothache. She said that the child could not concentrate at school as a result of the pain.

“I don’t know what to do if the clinic cannot help me,” she said.

A patient said he was referred to Greenpoint by the Beaconsfield Clinic and was very disappointed that there was no dentist as he could not bear the pain any more.

The Northern Cape Department of Health yesterday insisted that it is rendering dental care services at Greenpoint Clinic as an outreach service by the dental team from Galeshewe Day Hospital.

Department spokesperson Lebogang Majaha said: “Yesterday, the dental team managed to attend to a handful of patients on the waiting list and have scheduled all other appointments for this coming Friday, February 28, in Greenpoint.”