The provincial Health Department has set up a temporary clinic in Hout Bay for Hangberg residents to use when their clinic is closed for renovations.
The new facility is in Victoria Road just over 5km away from the Hangberg clinic in Karbonkel Road.
There has been a cloud of confusion hovering over the Karbonkel Road facility after it was closed in September when riots in the area left staff feeling threatened.
But it was then partially reopened in mid-October, and the department has continued providing basic health services from the Hangberg facility as well as the Iziko Lobomi Hall in Imizamo Yethu.
According to the department’s spokeswoman, Natalie Watlington, the services include the collection of chronic medication parcels, screening for TB, HIV testing, pregnancy tests and blood-pressure and sugar checks (“New health services plan for Hangberg,” Sentinel News, October 4).
Ms Watlington said the facility in Victoria Road was a “fully operational clinic” and would “render a continuous package of quality care to the growing community of Hout Bay”.
According to the department, the Karbonkel Road and Victoria Road facilities will both provide services until the Karbonkel Road one is closed for renovations.
But the department told the Sentinel it doesn’t know when the clinic will be closed or when the work will start.
However, community activist, Roscoe Jacobs, condemned the department for closing the Karbonkel Road clinic in the first place, calling it “proof of the continued violation of the human rights of the community of Hangberg and the broader community of Hout Bay”.
He said the unrest in the area at the time of the clinic’s closure had not threatened staff and the facility.
Although the clinic is now partially open, Mr Jacobs has called on the public to hold a “peaceful protest” outside the facility.
The community wanted to see the clinic “fully operational”, he said.
Ms Watlington said she had heard talk about the Karbonkel Road clinic being closed and couldn’t understand where it was coming from until recently visiting the facility.
“We found a note on the gate stating that the facility is closed until further notice, but this note was not from the department, and I think that is where the confusion came in,” she said.
The sight of a truck loading clinic furniture and files to be moved to the temporary facility also alarmed some in the community.
Hangberg resident Cheryl Williams fears having to travel further to get her medication or see a doctor.
“Some people could just walk for their medication or to get treated. Now they actually have to plan correctly if they wish to be seen by a doctor or receive their medication.”
However, the new facility has already started seeing patients, and Ms Watlington confirmed once again, that the Hangberg facility would remain open for the collection of chronic medication for patients, screening for TB, HIV and chronic illness, health promotion and counselling.
Services at Iziko Lobomi in Imizamo Yethu will also continue.
“We thank the community of Hout Bay for their patience and assistance and can assure you that we will continue to render health care services to all residents of Hout Bay and surrounding area,” Ms Watlington said.