“Clinic is totally unacceptable”

Clinic Totally Unacceptable“The level of service and healthcare at this clinic is totally unacceptable. Section 27 of the Constitution guarantees us the right to health. Yet in Goederede Clinic, like so many more health facilities across Mpumalanga, this right is not even close to being met,” said Sibusiso Mashiteng, TAC Mpumalanga Provincial Chairperson.

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KWAGGAFONTEIN, South Africa, 17th JULY 2017 – Today 50 members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in Mpumalanga are picketing outside Goederede Clinic because of its failure to provide adequate healthcare services to the community. Patients who use the clinic face excessive waiting times, poor staff attitudes, undignified and unhygienic toilets, and shortages of medicines and equipment. Despite efforts to engage staff and authorities since last year, the problems at the clinic have yet to be resolved.

“TAC receives complaint after complaint from people in the community about the state of the services at Goederede Clinic,” says TAC Boekenhoudhoek Chairperson Ellias Mtshweni. “People wait all day, to never be seen. We get to the clinic, only to be sent home empty handed without the medicines we need. The nurses are under-resourced. Often, they are rude to us. We wait outside, even in the rain. We are forced to relieve ourselves without any privacy in dirty toilets. Goederede clinic is in crisis”

TAC and community members are picketing today to demand urgent action to address the following issues (the full memorandum outlining the concerns in more detail is here):

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Privilege or Participation

Privilege or ParticipationAlthough the World Health Organization (WHO) has failed over the last 70 years at its charter mission to realise the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standards of health, it has succeeded in assuring that the WHO itself enjoys the highest attainable standards of privilege, well hidden from public view by its lack of transparency. A recent article in the Washington Post (see below) revealed that the annual travel budget of the WHO was in excess of $200 million each year, more than the total amount they spend on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

The WHO is mandated to serve first and foremost those that are the most vulnerable, the billions of poor or marginalised, and people struggling to survive life-threatening diseases or life-changing disabilities. Instead, it seems to first make sure that it serves its own interest and those of the 193 governments (Member States) that have complete control over the governance of the WHO. As the oversight of the WHO is in the hands of these Member States, including hundreds of governments with long histories of high-level corruption, a culture of  institutional impunity is allowed to go unchecked, while transparency is limited. Five star hotels and first class travel are just some of the many privileges and perks provided to long term staff, as well as substantial tax-free salaries. Meetings are held in luxury settings around the world, with a mix of the international and national elite in attendance to declare that these important gatherings are essential to improve the health and well-being of the world.

Those that the WHO should prioritise, the people most affect by health inequities and most in need of their right to health, are excluded from participating in the governance of the WHO. Their community organisations also have no say in how the WHO manages its programmes or spends its funds, which mostly come from governments through taxation of the public. As seen at other UN entities such as UNAIDS, the inclusion of representatives from these most affected communities ‘at the table’ contributes to increasing the accountability of the institution. Without the participation of the most affected communities, it’s almost impossible to fully monitor programmes or ‘follow the money’ to see what the WHO is doing on the ground, or in the air.

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