IN a heart wrenching incident, a one-year six month-old child from Silobini Village died at the gate of Mhlahlandlela Clinic in Matobo, Matabeleland South province where her parents had waited for about 11 hours.
During the long wait they passionately begged a security guard and a nurse on duty for assistance after they refused them treatment and admission while arguing that they did not attend to anyone on weekends.
This tragic incident which would apparently lead some to lose faith in health practitioners happened a fortnight ago.
Narrating the painful experience through tears, which he and his wife went through while trying to save their daughter, the child’s father Misheck Maphosa said no parent should ever have to go through what they have been through.
He said it was “barbaric”, adding that had his daughter received assistance on time she would have survived.
“There is absolutely nothing dignified about watching your child die. No parent should ever have to go through what we have been through,” he said.
“It was on a Saturday morning and at around 8am, when my wife took our child who had respiratory problems to Mhlahlandlela Clinic for medical attention. When she got there the security guard then informed her that the clinic does not open on weekends.
“My wife then indicated that the banner stated that they attended to emergency cases around the clock but the guard declined and argued that they did not attend to anyone on weekends,” recounted a teary Maphosa.
For Maphosa, life after the death of his child is surely like being on an island, separate from the mainland where the “normal people” live.
He said that after a while a nurse appeared and indicated that she could have helped them but she was on leave.
“My wife waited and a nurse appeared and told her that she was on leave and did not have the keys to the clinic. She told her that the nurse who was on duty had gone to a workshop,” he said.
Maphosa said his wife waited thinking she would get assistance and at around 1pm she came back home for lunch and that is when he accompanied them back to the clinic to find out why the child had not been attended to.
“When we got there after lunch, we found the nurse on duty at the clinic but she did not attend to us. She also refused us entry into the clinic. We tried begging her together with the security guard but they refused to allow us inside.
“At around 7pm, I sought the help of a police officer who then talked to the nurse and the clinic was opened at 8pm. The child died immediately after entering the clinic,” said Maphosa.
In sadness, he said his daughter died at the gate exactly at 8.05pm. Silobini Village head Mannford Ndiweni confirmed the sad incident saying the community was complaining about the nurse in question (name supplied) and they had since submitted their complaints to her superiors.
“What happened is true and it’s pretty disturbing. 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 the lives of people properly.
“We have since set out our findings in detail, along with the recommendations we have made in order to ensure that the lessons of this tragic case which we forwarded to the relevant authorities should never happen again at the clinic.
“We are currently waiting for their response because this case needs to be decisively dealt with,” said Ndiweni.
Contacted for comment, Matabeleland South provincial medical director (PMD) Dr Rudo Chikodzore said she had not received any report of the tragic event.
Meanwhile, in 2018, the Ministry of Health and Child Care introduced the client service charter that states that nurses have to attend to patients within 30 minutes of their arrival as part of improving service delivery.
The charter also states that those on out-patients are not supposed to spend more than two hours at the hospital.