Sabie Hospital Open Day took place on 18th October, whereby local residents were invited to share their views on ways to improve service delivery inside the health facility. The event was in line with Breast Awareness month.
The event kicked off with a puppet show dedicated to pre-schoolers from local daycare centres. The cheerful children were also taken on a tour around the various sections within the hospital. Pinocchio Day Care centre teachers, Mellisa Mitchell and Mercia Korb, said that the tour was intended to drive away the fear of hospitals in the hearts of the kids.
Various stalls were put in place by hospital staff-Dietician, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Optometrist and Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT). Community members participated in large numbers.
The community members were given the platform to ask questions, directed to the CEO Elvis Dibakwane.
Jane Nyalungu, a home-based carer from Simile in Sabie, complained about the ambulance staff and drivers who reportedly undermine calls from community members in need of emergency health care.
“Ambulance drivers drop our phone calls when we call for help. This is not right and it makes our work very difficult when trying to help the community members under our care,” said Nyalungu.
Some of the questions posed by community members, primarily the elderly, included a shortage of blankets, a call to report drunkenness on duty and alleged unprofessional treatment by Simile clinic staff.
“The clinic is untidy; we wait for service from 8 am until 3 pm while the nurses gossip and tell people about our sicknesses. Something must be done about this problem,” said one elderly lady.
The Hospital CEO responded to the questions. He thanked the community for honouring the invitation, also for supporting the hospital in its attempts to improve service delivery to the people.
“Open day means that you must come and tell us what we must do better to service. Sometimes we do wrong, but we aim to improve the quality of life for our people. We have a hospital Board, whereby complaints can be reported. My phone number and that of other managers are available; please feel free to call us anytime to report bad treatment. Please report bad treatment by ambulance team. I will refer to the issue of ambulances (EMS) to the relevant people. We acknowledge the shortage of blankets, but a list for linen has been submitted to the government, we promise to look into it urgently. We rely on your cooperation, this is not my hospital, it belongs to you, please feel free to guide us when we do wrong,” said Dibakwane.
He added that a budget of over R100 million was allocated to the hospital by the government.
“We have a good track record because we are committed to our job. We are trying to protect the budget and people call us names, we are protecting the tax payer’s money. We also have an intention to protect the mother and child during birth. I urge the community not to abuse the hospital worker and to comply with security guards at the main entrance,” said Dibakwane.
The Department of Labour (Sabie) was represented by the Regional Manager-Peter Mashile and Lerato Ndlovu. The hospital staff choir gave an excellent performance, followed by a thought-provoking and awareness-based drama. Gifts and prizes were handed out, including eye testing and free spectacles. Lunch was served to everyone in attendance and transport was provided to the community members.