“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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Don’t Get Disempowered!

Don't Get Disempowered!How a Human Rights Movement gets disempowered?
By Sunil Babu Pant, Blue Diamond Society

Activists from the ‘global south’ hear, far too often, from our donors that we should ‘Learn how to become professional, make your NGO management efficient’.

Let’s decode what “becoming professional” means and what “efficient management means”:

1) Professional means a person engaged or qualified in a profession. ‘Profession’ is the key word here, and donors would like to make sure that you become a ‘professional’ activist, and want to see you taking it (human rights work) as a profession.

2) Efficient management means performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort. For conventional NGOs this means achieving targets, writing professional reports and submitting it in a timely manner. To really understand the “danger” of becoming efficient, you must compare it with effectiveness. Being effective is about doing the right things, while being efficient is about doing things right (no matter how far you have moved away from human rights ‘activism’ to be part of an efficient management team).

As soon as a well-meaning group of activists start the process of becoming a NGO, the problem begins. No matter what is said at the outset about the ‘NGOs being free to act the way they have envisioned’, the truth is that the NGOs are deeply indebted by donors, well-funded NGOs are even worse. This is start of a ‘professional’ submission to a system that repeatedly dis-empowers and controls the movement, denies the freedom of a human rights movement to do what it is supposed to do, all slogans of ‘grassroots-led and empowerment’ not-upheld.

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