Home News Dream to turn drug den into health centre

Dream to turn drug den into health centre


A community activist who has highlighted the ‘appalling conditions’ at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley is facing an uphill battle in his attempt to open a health-care centre in Roodepan.

There appears to be a shortage of beds at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital. Picture: Supplied

A COMMUNITY activist, Ashwin Goolamhossen, who has highlighted the “appalling conditions” at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley, is facing an uphill battle in his attempt to open a health-care centre in Roodepan.

During a visit to the hospital this week, Goolamhossen, who is also involved in the Simanye Nutritional and Development Community Centre, said he was unable to source the necessary funding.

“We want to make use of the unused multipurpose centre in Roodepan or an abandoned shopping complex in Vinca Street that is being used as a drug den and dump site. We want to employ nurses and doctors who will provide free services to the community.

“This will also alleviate long queues at the hospital. We applied to the Lottery and government for funding but were declined.”

Goolamhossen added that the centre only received a small portion of funding from the Department of Social Development for their feeding scheme.

The abandoned building in Vinca Street, Roodepan. Picture: Facebook

He stated that patients waited from 8am until 9.55pm for medical assistance at casualties and were left to sleep on the cold floor for several days at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital.

“The lifts are out of order, where heavily pregnant patients have to walk up flights of stairs in order to get to the maternity ward. The floors of the hospital are dirty, the linen is blood stained and the toilets are in a terrible state.”

He also claimed that patients were turned away by hospital security guards and were not permitted to seek medical attention, while drug users were also refused entry and were told that they “could rather go and die”.

“An expectant mother who was three months pregnant was turned away despite experiencing bleeding, while women have to give birth on the floor.”

The toilets at the hospital are out of order. Picture: Supplied
Patients are sleeping on the floor at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital. Picture: Supplied

Goolamhossen stated that medical staff were rude to patients.

“A doctor, who was dressed in an unprofessional manner – in flimsy clothing, a pink towel wrapped around her waist and with long coloured nails – had a terrible attitude and told everyone that she was in charge. The nurses are hardly at their posts as they are always on an eating break.

“I tried to contact the CEO of the hospital to intervene but was unable to get hold of him. I have forwarded patient complaints to management.”

Patients meanwhile said that they had to hike from Jan Kempdorp and outlying areas if they required medical care as ambulances did not transport patients over weekends.

A community activist said that medical staff were rude to patients at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital. Picture: Supplied

A patient at the hospital, Rodney Sebolai, said that he had to arrange his own transport from Petrusville on April 7.

“I was assaulted and was not able to get an ambulance, after I regained consciousness, to the nearest hospital in Hopetown. A nurse checked my vitals and gave me pain medication.

“Late on Sunday afternoon, the doctor refused to complete a J88 form so that I could open a case against my attackers. I was informed that I was supposed to be treated in De Aar. I was discharged on Monday even though I informed the nurses that I was still feeling off balance, drunk in the head and nauseous.”

He added that he was told “not to be difficult” and to gather his belongings as he was “no longer their problem”.

“I had to walk from the hospital and it was very difficult because I leaned on the drip stand when walking and after being discharged I had no support. A kind uncle came to my rescue.

“I asked him to take me to the nearest ATM so that I could catch a taxi to Hopetown.”

Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lulu Mxekezo explained that the Easter weekend was traditionally “a very busy weekend” at the hospital.

“There was a huge influx of patients from all the districts as well as emergency patients who required treatment at our facility.”

She stated that the non-functioning lifts were in the process of being replaced.

“The non-functional lifts contributed to patients waiting in the accident and emergency unit to be admitted, as many of them were on stretchers. Contingency plans were implemented to deal with the influx of patients and all personnel were assisting wherever they could to manage movement and care of patients. Due to the high influx, patient waiting times were long. Patients are seen according to our triage system.”

Mxekezo added that mental health patients were kept for observation for 72 hours mainly in the observation unit at the mental health hospital.

“Acute patients are kept in Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital emergency centre for sedation and evaluation, some of whom are drug abusers.

“At times, it becomes difficult for general assistants to keep the hospital tidy, especially with such a high volume of patients.”

She indicated that no medical personnel were permitted to refuse to provide health care to any patient.

“We encourage complainants to submit in writing any complaints to the management of the hospital and the matter will be dealt with according to the procedures of complaints.

Mxekezo added that emergency medical services vehicles were especially under pressure during peak times such as over Easter or long weekends.

“Personnel are trying their level best to assist all patients no matter where they are located as soon as possible.”

She stated that doctors were permitted to wear scrubs and civilian clothes on certain days, although they were expected to be dressed professionally at all times.

“The hospital is working on dress code guidelines and identification cards for all personnel.”

Previous articleOperation yields success
Next articleKimberley Archery Club to host 3D shooting event