COMMENT: Probe cases of abuse at health facility, take action

Children are a precious gift from God and many parents go to great lengths to ensure that their children are taken care of. It is painful and utterly heart-breaking to lose a child.

It is even more emotionally damaging if one feels helpless, feeling they did not or could not do enough to save their child’s life.

In our previous edition we carried an article on the death of a one-year-old child at the gate of Mhlahlandlela Clinic in Matobo District. According to the version by the parents of the deceased, the nurse and security guard at the institution denied them attention for 11 hours arguing that the clinic was closed at the weekend.

It is shocking that a health practitioner, who is probably a parent, could deny a fellow woman assistance and still stick to her guns of not rendering any assistance even after the intervention of the father of the child.

We believe something is terribly wrong, not only at this particular clinic, but in the administration of health facilities in the district. It would appear acts of impunity are the order of the day at the clinic to a point that even traditional leaders are aware of it and feel helpless at the hands of a community servant brought in to attend to their needs.

According to Silobini Village head Mannford Ndiweni the community had submitted a petition to the superiors of the nurse in question over her unpalatable conduct.

”We have received a lot of complaints about the nurse from community members and the loss of this child shows that this nurse is not performing her duties of saving lives. We have set out our findings in detail, along with the recommendations to ensure that the lessons from this tragic case which we forwarded to the relevant authorities should never happen again at the clinic,” said Ndiweni.

We sympathise with the community of Silobini but also would want to challenge the Government arms, especially the health officials, to ensure that villagers are aware of the channels to follow when such things happen at public institutions.

There is a lot of impunity by public servants that goes unreported.

One only needs to attend public gatherings such as funerals and local meetings to hear grumblings over the treatment of patients at the local clinic, how a relationship between an  officer of the law at the local station and a local woman has compromised service provision at thestation,or how some teacher has become untouchable due to their links with a certain politician.

We believe local leadership needs to play a bigger role in safeguarding the interests of their people or risk losing the respect of the local populace, which could then be misconstrued as a lack of appreciation of the traditional institutions.

We wait to hear how the authorities handle the Mhlahlandlela case but we believe many people across the country have moving stories about the treatment they received at the hands of public officials, regardless of the bold service charters that decorate the walls of such institutions and espouse lofty ideals.

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