Clinic opens gates 24/7 after Sowetan report

Alf Moselakgomo

Alf Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga clinic where a mother gave birth to a baby girl at its gates with the help of security guards has now employed two full-time nurses.

The clinic has not been operating at night for more than a month because of staff shortages. The clinic had only one nurse, who was on leave when the woman gave birth at the gate.

Sowetan reported last week that the 17-year-old mother, Maria Ngobeni, gave birth at the gates of Lefiso clinic because the only sister assigned to night shift was on maternity leave. No replacement for her was appointed.

The clinic is supposed to operate 24 hours a day.

A day after Sowetan reported the young mother's story the provincial Department of Health appointed two nurses for night duty. The clinic started operating around the clock on Thursday.

Last week the provincial Health Department cited staff shortages as the reason for not replacing the nurse who was on maternity leave.

Yesterday the department's spokesman, Mpho Gabashane, confirmed that two new nurses had been employed for night duties in Lefiso.

"We are glad to announce that the clinic is back to normal and operating 24 hours a day with two additional nurses," Gabashane said.

Gabashane urged the communities in the area to use government structures such as clinic committees for advice when they experienced problems with service delivery at clinics.

Ngobeni described her experience of giving birth at the clinic gate as "an unpalatable and horrific scenario".

She thanked Sowetan for highlighting the plight of villagers in the area.

"The stress levels associated with going to Lefiso clinic for medical attention have certainly been brought down, and it's all thanks to Sowetan," Ngobeni said.

Sam Mmutle, a village headman in the area, also thanked Sowetan for highlighting the problems at the clinic.

Mmutle also made an appeal to health authorities not to allow the clinic to lapse into such a state of poor management again.