Angry and frustrated residents of a village in Mpumalanga have voiced concern at the closure of a local clinic after the only nurse went on leave.
More than 5000 people in Ga-Maria village near Marapyane, KwaMhlanga, depend on the clinic for their medical needs. The villagers expressed their dissatisfaction with the health system in the area because of either a lack of staff or shortage of medications.
Authorities said yesterday that the problem had been sorted out - but villagers say that is not true.
Villagers said the problem started last week when the clinic's only matron, Abele Nkoana, went on four weeks leave.
"We were shocked because none of us were informed about the closure," said Helen Kekana, whose child had flu. "When I enquired from people who live next to the clinic, they said it had been closed for a week as the only nurse was on leave," she said.
Sowetan phoned the clinic yesterday and the phone rang unanswered.
Another villager, Bamuza Masemola, said: "It appears that no one living here is expected to get sick because when it [the clinic] operates, you will be told that the prescribed medications are out of stock."
He said those desperately in need of prescribed medicines are forced to go to Mmametlhake Hospital, which is 50km away.
Mpumalanga health department spokesman Mpho Gabashane said the only nurse who was on leave had since been replaced and that the clinic had been re-opened.