Nurses abandon Joburg patients

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Thousands of patients around Johannesburg continue to bear the brunt of the municipal clinics nurses' strike.

Nurses embarked on a "go slow" early this month demanding salary increases and better working conditions.

The situation worsened last week when clinics slammed their doors on patients, instructing them to go to provincial clinics as they had stopped attending to the sick, the pregnant and those with chronic diseases.

Nicholas Mudau of Rockville, Soweto, who suffers from hypertension, is one of the patients who were turned away at Mofolo South clinic.

"Two weeks ago I went to the clinic for a check-up and to collect my monthly dose of medication.

"When I arrived there the facility was empty and I was told the nurses were sick. They told me to go to Greenhouse clinic, also in Mofolo," he said.

Mudau, 69, allegedly went to Greenhouse but was turned away because they were not seeing any more patients for the day. He apparently went back two days only to be met with the same response.

"People arrive as early as 4am at Greenhouse. For a person my age it is difficult to wake up that early, as a result I am defaulting on my treatment. I have not been taking my medication for almost two weeks now and I don't know what to do because the local clinic is abandoned," he said.

Mudau usually wakes up around 7am and catches a taxi from Rockville to Mofolo South. He waits in the queue because he knows the nurses will attend to him no matter what time he got there.

"I just wish the government would address the issues of concern to the nurses as soon as possible," said Mudau.

Mudau is one of hundreds of patients who marched to the Johannesburg mayor's office on Wednesday to deliver a list of grievances. Johannesburg has over 90 clinics and most of them have been affected by the nurses strike.