Clinics need health committee members

Mitchell’s Plain Residents’ Association (MURA) health sector members learn about health committees and hospital boards.

Rocklands, Eastridge and Westridge clinics are in need of health committee members to act as liaisons between the community and facility management.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo has already appointed eight to 12 members to serve on Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital’s board, and health committees, legislative bodies, at Lentegeur and Tafelsig clinics.

The National Health Act, 2003 provides for formally constituted, community-based governance structures, such as hospital boards, clinic committees and community health centre (CHC) committees, within the healthcare delivery system.

These structures have been created to provide an avenue for communities to give input into the planning, delivery, organisation and evaluation of health services, as well as to play an oversight role in the development of health policies and the provision of equitable health services.

To address this imporant role the community can play, the Mitchell’s Plain Residents’ Association’s (MURA) health sector hosted a workshop at Mitchell’s Plain police station on Wednedsay March 16.

Andile Zabeko, the community liaison officer for provincial health department’s Klipfontein/Mitchell’s Plain substructure, said he had fewer than five members for the committees of each of the Rocklands, Eastridge and Westridge clinics.

He explained that through their involvement, participants could prevent the possible closure of clinics (“Eastridge and Rocklands clinics face possible closure”, Plainsman, January 12), improve service delivery and lobby the government to increase budgets.

Mr Zabeko said it was not a matter of the clinics closing but rather the amalgamation of services between the day hospital, now known as Mitchell’s Plain CHC, and the Eastridge clinic.

“We require a committee to service these two facilities jointly,” he said.

Mura member Pastor Franklin Williams, who is also the chairman of the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital board, said committee members could make proposals and volunteer their services to share the burden of patients waiting outside of facilities for hours, better understand how clinics and hospitals operate and hold office bearers accountable to ensure service delivery.

With him was Ricardo Mackenzie, member of the provincial legislature, who is a co-opted member of the board.

Applicants must submit their curriculum vitae, proof of eligibility and written proof of mandates, from their local community organisations at their local clinics, close to their residence. Eligible candidates are chosen through a provincial or district ballot system process

The Health MEC appoints members, who receive a formal letter and then attend their first meeting.

Each member serves a term of three years after which the board or committee is dissolved and the process starts again.