A Sunday night burglary at Khayelitsha’s Nolungile Community Health Centre resulted in hundreds of patients having to be turned away today due to flooding caused by the theft of taps and piping.
Only Tuberculosis (TB) patients received treatment, all other patients were referred to other health centres which were being assisted by nurses and doctors who would normally work at Nolungile, but many of the patients complained that they had not the transport money to go elsewhere.
The health centre’s maternity ward, operating theatre and patients’ waiting room were flooded and a visit revealed workers mopping up the floors.
Carrying her nine-month-old baby girl, Siphokazi Nyamankulu, 26, said she did not have the money for transport to the nearest alternative healthcare facility, the Khayelitsha Site B Day Hospital about five kilometers away.
Nyamankulu said she would have to wait until Wednesday, when the Nolungile health centre was expected to be operational again, in order for her baby to receive treatment for her cold.
She said she had arrived at the hospital gates at about 5am but security guards told her the hospital had been burgled and would likely not open.
She said she waited for three hours, during which time hundreds of other Site C residents arrived. “We were told the hospital was burglared and we are not going to get access until management has arrived. This is inconvenient because I had asked for a day off at work.
“We got mixed responses when we enquired as other staff members told us to wait while others were told to go home or alternatively visit a nearest hospital,” said Nyamankulu.
She said if she had money she would have gone to the pharmacy and bought medicine for her child as she was worried her condition might deteriorate.
Another patient, Nomzi Guqa, 45, said her appointment with one of the counselors at the hospital was cancelled until further notice.
She also said she had also taken the day off work for her appointment.
“I will have to come here on Wednesday and that would be problematic for my work,” she said.
The Health Centre’s Youth Centre coordinator Mzamo Ngemntu confirmed the burglary, saying it was the fourth break-in this year.
“People have been turned away. Doctors have been deployed to other hospitals to help where necessary.
“We feel the pain of the patients as they had taken time coming here to the hospital only to find they will be turned away.
He said the health centre would be open Wednesday and urged people to come forward with any information they had which might lead to arrests.
Head of communications at the provincial department of health, Faiza Steyn, was not able to provide comment before going to press. — Sandiso Phaliso